More new customers, more pets, more kids, and shorter lead times for booking private jet charters. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on who and where for the private jet market, according to PrivateFly’s annual Private Jet Charter Trends 2020 report.
The unit of Directional Aviation’s OneSky Flight noted in addition to the routine the year saw some unique missions.
Many flights filled gaps in airline schedules, including repatriating those working or studying overseas. In the spring and summer, PrivateFly arranged many private airliner charters to Copenhagen for groups of Chinese students to connect with one of the few remaining direct airline routes from Europe to China.
It was an earth-moving experience for an American family repatriating from Europe to Salt Lake City in April. After stopping in Chicago to clear international COVID-19 health screening, an unexpected earthquake hit their Utah destination, shutting the airport. PrivateFly re-routed the flight, diverting to an alternative destination, and the clients landed safely. After a long and eventful day, they had a car waiting to drive them home.
In terms of booking lead time, 58% of reservations for private jet charters were within a week of departure, a jump from 48% in 2019. In fact, 21% were the same or next day trips. The shortest span from inquiry to takeoff was a mere 46 minutes.
Kids and pets also were aboard more frequently. The number of flights with pets jumped by 50% to 6%. Private jet charters with children under 16 increased to 16%, a 33% increase.
What didn’t change much? Men were 70% of passengers, in line with 71% for 2019. Average age also held steady, with a slight decline to 39 from 41 years old. The average number of passengers increases from 4.00 to 4.11.
What’s ahead? “With vaccines now on the horizon, travel confidence is increasing, and while much of the usual business travel provided by our sector is still on hold, we are optimistic for continued growth in 2021,” says CEO Adam Twidell.