Hangar 7 Aviation keeps a close eye on trends in private air charter, and 2021 is set to be an exciting year for the industry. Here are our top 10 predictions for private charter flights in the coming year:
1. Light jets will lead the private air charter industry recovery.
According to Aviation Week, light jets (in addition to the strong turboprop market!) are set to lead the private jet market’s recovery from COVID-19 with a 28% market share.
2. Business jet travel will fully rebound to 2019 levels by mid-2021.
This prediction aligns with forecasts by Heath Patrick of Honeywell Aerospace, who foresaw early signs of a rebound in business jet usage in late 2020 and believes levels will return fully as early as the summer of 2021. The global pandemic naturally led to a private air charter slowdown last year, but this is on track to turn around as vaccines are distributed and the global pandemic moves into the rearview mirror.
Patrick goes on to say that, "The information we gleaned from operators shows a less than 1% decline in five-year purchase plans, so despite the short-term effects of the pandemic, we don't expect long-term changes to purchase plans or to the overall health of the business jet market."
3. Flying private in 2021 will be more common than before COVID-19.
Travelers have kicked off 2021 with health, privacy, and peace of mind as their top priorities. Private air charter offers many advantages to anyone who is nervous about flying in the early portion of this year. No busy airport security lines, fewer passengers sharing the cabin, and the convenience of a travel schedule that’s both reliable and flexible (when so many commercial flights are being rerouted, delayed, or canceled altogether).
As an industry expert explained to Travel + Leisure, "We are definitely seeing a major shift in how people think about air travel. People I talk to are more open to looking at options they might not have previously considered." Figures have already shown that this past fall, commercial flights fell by 50% while private air travel was reduced by only 10%. This trend will continue to show the resiliency and preferability of private travel in 2021 as private air charter flights become even more common.
4. Private air charter will continue to grow more accessible than ever before.
The accessibility of private charter travel has been trending up for at least a decade, and this will continue into 2021. The flexibility and efficiency of private air charter has been advantageous not only to large enterprises, but to small and mid-sized companies seeking value and cost-efficient executive travel.
5. The diversification of private air charter services will create new value for customers and companies.
The uncertainties we weathered in 2020—economic, political, and in public health—have affected private aviation in profound ways. According to Luxury Travel Magazine, many private charter companies have reacted with a new, broader slate of services (such as transportation of goods, medical, or repatriation flights) that make their companies more prepared to face these kinds of challenges with resilience.
6. The value of private air charter with a turboprop aircraft will be confirmed.
Already the most cost-efficient private air charter option, turboprops will grow into a go-to aircraft selection for many private travelers in 2021. There’s no better transition to private travel from commercial aviation than a single or twin-engine turboprop on routes of three hours or less. The workhorses of the turboprop lineup—like the Beechcraft King Air 350 and Pilatus PC-12/45—have already proven their value as comfortable charter planes with prices that can be 50% lower than similar-sized light jets.
7. First-time private air charter travelers will create fresh demand for entry-level aircraft.
The increasing demand for small, cost-effective aircraft will continue into 2021 as new and first-time private travelers join the ranks of air charter veterans at an unprecedented rate. Private aircraft have proven to be a practical, safe, and highly flexible alternative to commercial airlines in 2020, so private air charter companies will respond to this growing interest with expanded entry-level options for first-time customers.
8. Fuel efficiency and carbon emissions will take center stage.
As the public focus on the carbon footprint of the aviation industry has grown, it’s become clear that the private air charter companies that set and achieve ambitious emissions goals will be rewarded with more patronage in 2021. Private jets already burn less fuel and emit less CO2 than commercial aircraft, although they do carry fewer passengers. It will be critical to continue expanding fleets with highly fuel-efficient light jets, turboprops, and upgrades of older airframes to attract green-minded clientele.
9. Mobile private air charter booking will be a competitive advantage.
Once upon a time, a decent website and online quoting system were all that was required to succeed as a private air charter company. These days, young entrepreneurs and business professionals prefer to book flights via their mobile device. A convenient, mobile-friendly booking solution will be critical to appealing to private flyers in 2021.
10. Remote work will alter popular route patterns.
It’s highly likely that remote work will continue to expand even as the pandemic recedes. More workers will be traveling to work from second summer homes, rather than offices, and some leisure destinations will join frequent business travel routes. For example, the popularity of routes to Nice have recently exceeded those to Paris in France.
If you’re interested in further insights into the private air charter market, come check out our regularly updated blog at Hangar 7 Aviation. You can also contact our agents, who are always available to provide expert travel advice and assist you with arranging the details of your next charter flight on the private aircraft of your choice.