Air Charter Service predicts ‘summer boom’ for private aviation

Private jet operator Air Charter Service has said it expects to see a ‘boom’ in private jet travel bookings this summer. 

The operator is forecasting a 20% year-on-year increase in new customer enquiries between June and August 2021, bringing the market back to 2019 levels. 

The company said it had seen a surge in private demand directly after the UK’s first lockdown last year and recorded an 80% increase in new enquiries in March compared with February. 

Booking figures for the same period only increased 22%, however, suggesting customers were making summer travel preparations without yet committing, the brand said. 

"What we are hearing from customers is that the lingering fear of coronavirus infection, along with the inevitable delays at airports, is driving this surge in interest,” said chief executive Justin Bowman.

“Travellers do not feel confident that flying by scheduled service will be a smooth process, as the Covid-19-related immigration requirements at airports will cause delays and additional stress.

“Travellers do not experience the same delays at private terminals and, as the pandemic continues to evolve, customers want to be able to fly back quickly if it looks like quarantine regulations will change.”

He added: “A recent McKinsey report revealed that only 10% of people who can afford to travel privately actually do and we believe that new customers will continue to turn to private aviation this summer. 

“Provided that destinations such as France, Italy and Spain contain their case numbers and relax travel restrictions, we expect a 20% growth in flight numbers between June and August compared with 2020, bringing the market back to 2019 levels.”

Air Charter Service said it also expects to see a resurgence in high-end business travel this summer, as well as an increased uptake of carbon offset schemes.

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