Demand for private jets will continue, according to new survey

By Doug Gollan, July 11, 2021

Even as the Covid pandemic winds down, a new survey of private jet users suggests no end to the record surge in private aviation demand

– Average jet card deposit increased 12% to $237,267 from January’s survey

– 53% of new private aviation users will continue to fly privately on a regular basis post-Covid, up 29% since January

A just released survey of subscribers to Private Jet Card Comparisons shows the demand surge trend for private aviation is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

18% of new private aviation users since Covid-19 already have purchased more jet card flight hours

-Survey of Private Jet Card Comparisons’ subscribers

Some 69% of current private aviation users expect to fly more post-Covid than prior to the pandemic. Another 28% expect to fly privately at pre-Covid levels. Only 3% said they will be making fewer private flights in a post-Covid world (see table below).

Expected private flying post-Covid (All current private flyers)
Fly more post-Covid than prior to Covid69%
Same as prior to Covid28%
Fly less post-Covid than prior to Covid3%
Source: Private Jet Card Comparisons Subscriber Survey

Half of current private aviation users responding said they had started or re-started private flying due to Covid-19. Of those, 100% of new private flyers say they plan to continue after the pandemic. In other words, not a single respondent said they plan to stop private flights post-pandemic. The responses underscore the stickiness of private aviation.

“I won’t say it’s affordable, but I can afford it, and there is just no comparison to the airlines,” said one respondent. Another said, “We are a young family with three children under 10 years old. There’s just no way we are going to endure the misery of the airline experience ever again. You just can’t put a price tag on arriving at your destination and feeling ready to go instead of like you’ve just been through an ordeal.”

More than half (53%) of new flyers say they will fly privately on a regular basis even after the pandemic (see table below). That’s a 29% increase from the 41% who said they would continue private flights on a regular basis in a January subscriber survey.

New Private Aviation Users
I will continue to fly privately regularly after the pandemic is over53%
I will fly privately once in a while after the pandemic is over47%
I stop flying privately after the pandemic is over0%
Source: Private Jet Card Comparisons Subscriber Survey

Post-Covid private aviation expectations for pre-pandemic private jet users were similar to the January survey, with 38% expecting to fly more private flights than prior to Covid and 59% expecting similar usage levels. Just 3% said they expect to fly privately less.

The survey also revealed a strong pipeline of potential new private jet customers. Of the over 225 respondents, 90% are currently privately flyers and 9% said they are now considering private aviation.

Of current users, 81% use jet cards while 35% charter on a flight-by-flight basis. Over 1 in 10 (11%) get rides on the private jets of friends. In terms of ownership, 7% own their own private jets and 5% have fractional ownership shares. Six percent use by-the-seat or shared jet solutions. Another 3% use company owned aircraft from companies they don’t own or control. Over 50% or respondents said they have more than one private aviation solution, including jet cards from multiple providers.

Why do people fly privately?

In terms of why respondents use private flights, 54% said they use private aviation for personal/vacation travel only. Over 4 in 10 (43%) use it for a combination of personal/vacation flights and business needs. Three percent said they use private flights exclusively for business.

 Reasons for using private aviation (all respondents)
For Vacation/Personal travel only54%
A combination of Vacation/Personal and Business Travel43%
Business Travel only3%
Source: Private Jet Card Comparisons Subscriber Survey

New users are more likely to be strictly using private aviation for personal/vacation travel (64%) whereas 52% of pre-Covid private flyers said they use private aviation for a combination of personal/vacation and business travel with 44% using private aviation for personal/vacation trips only.

More than 8 in 10 (82%) said they had bought or renewed a jet card in the past 18 months, with 92% making a deposit and 8% using pay-as-you-go options. The average deposit was $237,267 dollars, up 12% from $211,607 in the January survey.

Of those who are new to private aviation since Covid and had purchased jet cards, 18% have already renewed after using their initial hours.

Private aviation trends

A significant number of respondents cited avoiding the hassles of commercial airlines is a primary reason for continuing to fly privately. However, 19% said they had experienced service lapses on their private flights in recent months as private jet flying surges to record levels. Typical were delays, generally around two to three hours.

In terms of satisfaction with current providers, 43% rated performance as excellent. Another 34% said very good, while 8% scored performance as average. Despite the service lapses, only 2% rated providers below average or poor. Some 13% said it’s too early to tell.

In recent weeks, NetJets suspended jet card and fractional share sales of its Phenom 300 and Citation XLS models pointing to record demand. It previously had withdrawn its Citation Latitude and Classic jet card programs and imposed a blackout on 45 peak days for new jet card members. At the other end of the spectrum, boutique jet card seller Velocity Jets put a 30-day hiatus on accepting new customers. It pointed to increased flying by current customers and challenges in sourcing aircraft on short notice.

The survey was conducted via Survey Monkey from July 4 through 9, 2021, with over 225 respondents. It has a margin of error +/- 4%. A donation of $10 to the respondent’s choice of Feeding America or Homes For Our Troops was made for each completed survey. Private Jet Card Comparisons subscribers pay $250 per year to access detailed comparison data covering over 50 jet card providers and PREMIUM CONTENT articles that can save thousands of dollars for a single flight.

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