Concerns over air travel safety during the pandemic caused private jet usage to skyrocket.
Despite surging fuel prices and mounting environmental concerns, the private aviation industry has seen record growth since the pandemic began. Monthly flights of private jets have jumped nearly 30% since 2019, according to the flight-tracking firm Flightradar24, and charter services are reporting sharp increases in demand.
“I’ve been in the private jet market for the last 10 years, and on the aviation commercial side for 22, and I’ve never seen the private-jet business like this,” says Discovery Jets CEO Darren Banham.
The private flight industry has seen an influx of customers, mainly for shared planes and charter services. Brokerage firm JB Jets reports that 75% of clients are first-time private fliers. Industry executives attribute rising interest in private flights to a mix of COVID-19 safety anxieties, the elimination of short domestic routes by commercial airlines, and the current nightmare that is going to the airport, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Why it’s important
The pandemic has disrupted many business models. The airline industry was hit hard when the economy shut down, and has rebounded tremendously, as people were free to travel again.
Industry executives say along with COVID restrictions passengers also choose to fly private for the amenities and ease. Many companies provide complimentary ground transportation, luxury slippers, and high-end toothpaste.
“You can show up 15 minutes before,” JB Jets co-founder Ben Parker says. “You can show up late, and the plane will wait for you.”
All of this comes at a high price—and a steep environmental cost. Jet-chartering companies say they have made efforts to offset those emissions. XO gives fliers the option to send funds to “climate action projects around the world.” Jet Aviation uses some sustainable fuel and has been trying to eliminate single-use plastics from its aircrafts, reports The Wall Street Journal.