Pent up desire to travel, visiting loved ones abroad, postponed milestone celebrations, or improving wellbeing Ц whatever the reasons for taking to the skies once more, planning to fly privately is on the rise.
As more people are looking to minimise touchpoints, avoid busy terminals and glide through security hassle-free, global aviation services group Air Partner has seen new clients in the UK adding £750,000 worth of flying hours to JetCards, which can be used for helicopter or winged aircraft, and a 15% rise in sales and renewals year-on-year.
In the US, where the skies have remained open for domestic flights, sales and renewals of JetCards increased significantly in February and March 2021. Deposits from new clients increased 450% to the equivalent of £300,000, highlighting strong demand in this market for private flights.
Air Partner has seen demand recover faster for its JetCard product than ad-hoc flying due to a shift in client booking behaviour. The JetCard programme allows clients to plan their travel for the year ahead by buying private jet flying 'hours' in advance and the ability to change booking details or cancel up to 24 hours in advance without penalty. It is proving extremely popular as it gives travellers the ability to fly in safety the moment travel restrictions are lifted, but with flexibility in case they need to amend plans.
Mark Briffa, CEO of Air Partner, said: "The US private jet market is one vast, domestic market so it has not been subject to the types of restrictions and national lockdowns that we have seen in the UK and Europe. As a result, the skies have remained open and we have seen sustained private leisure flying from high-net-worth individuals in the region.
It is no surprise to see this demand continue, with our new customers from February and March making particularly significant deposits for future travel. In a very encouraging sign, this has also been the case in the UK as confidence returns to this market ahead of the anticipated easing of restrictions.
The pandemic has really shone a light on the benefits of our JetCard product: for those who are able to reserve private flying hours in advance, it offers unparalleled flexibility and access to a private jet at very short notice. This means it is proving very popular among customers who want to know they can travel easily and safely when lockdown restrictions lift."