The private charter industry has seen a swift recovery throughout 2021 — and much faster than that of commercial airlines — as many travelers took common sense measures to circumvent unwanted exposure at crowded commercial terminals and on packed airliners. This was much more than a rebound. The number of private charter flights in 2021 has exceeded pre-pandemic levels by a substantial margin. Growth is on track to continue into 2022 and beyond.
But where is it coming from? What’s drawing so many more flyers into private aviation and charter flights? Let’s take a closer look.
Private Charter Flights Are More Preferred Than Ever
A new survey of private aviation users has shown that 69% of current private flyers expect to fly more in a post-COVID world than they did before the pandemic. Of new flyers, 100% plan to continue using private aviation even after the health threat has ended (a flawless retention rate).
According to the editor in chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons, Doug Gollan, “If the question is, will new users stick with private aviation even in a post-Covid world, the answer is a unanimous yes.”
Side-by-side examination of aviation data from 2019 and 2021 shows that charter demand is indeed exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
Analysis from aviation data consultant WINGX suggests that charter demand — especially in U.S. domestic markets — has well outgrown earlier peaks. A look at all fixed wing flights so far this year shows business aviation operators nearly doubling their pre-pandemic market share. A focused look at flights just between the U.S. and Mexico reveals a 15% increase in chartered flights in the January 2021 to May 2021 window vs. the same stretch in 2019. Other destinations, like Antigua and Barbados, have seen chartered flights spike by as much as 77%.
8 Reasons for the Boom in Chartered Flights
Many respondents to the aforementioned survey said that the primary reason they have opted to use private aviation is to avoid the hassles of commercial airlines. Accelerated security and boarding processes without backed-up lines or frequent delays are a strong motivator. The white glove service and convenient, flexible planning of private air travel make the whole experience seamless and fast.
2. Health Concerns
Many flyers have turned to private charter to avoid unnecessary health risks. The less crowded and more streamlined nature of private fixed-base operator terminals as well as the smaller number of passengers on most chartered flights has done a lot to attract the interest of the health-conscious traveler.
3. A Rise in Domestic Trips
Travel restrictions early in the pandemic had the effect of turning the tables on the ideal airframe from larger jets, which are used to cross oceans, to smaller jets that are fast and cost-efficient while offering plenty of range for domestic journeys.
As chief of aviation at Societe Generale SA, Werner Slavik, told a Corporate Jet Investor conference, “Looking back we had a very good year and much, much better than expected. We saw, especially in the smaller jet market, quite strong demand.”
4. A Strengthening Economy
The healthy stock market and IPO performance has generated a lot of fresh wealth for travelers in the private charter space. Many new customers are discovering that private charter is not only convenient, but also very accessible to individuals who are not millionaires or ultra-rich.
5. The Success of Vaccines
Corporate demand for private charter flights is expected to continue to grow as vaccination efforts continue and companies return to the skies for on-location rather than virtual meetings.
6. An Uptick in Job Creation
Strong job creation performance as the economy has reopened is strengthening consumer confidence, according to an IBISWorld Market Research Report. This has, in turn, helped corporate businesses to recover and devote more of the budget to private air travel.
7. Expansion of E-Commerce and Express Delivery
Even chartered cargo transport has increased due to the unprecedented growth in online retail and delivery services that shows no signs of slowing down.
8. Interest in Leisure Trips
Flyers are flocking to private charter travel to satiate their desire for vacation travel as restrictions have lifted and tourism has returned. “You can’t go on vacation on Zoom,” says Robert Gates, a sales executive for Global Jet Capital Inc. “You need to get to your vacation house some way.” Meanwhile, commercial airlines are projected to take years to fully restore their pre-Covid flight numbers, and leisure travelers aren’t interested in waiting around.
Experience the Benefits of Private Charter Travel
Book your next (or your first!) chartered flight with Hangar 7 Aviation and discover the benefits of private charter for yourself. Our team is ready to assist you in making convenient, flexible arrangements on the chartered aircraft of your choice for comfortable travel without the hassle.