Demand for private aviation is on the rise as travellers seek safety and exclusivity in a post-covid world. This was the sentiment from a panel of industry experts speaking at TravMedia webinar, ‘Luxury Travel: Looking Beyond the Coronavirus Crisis’.
As border restrictions across the globe slowly start to ease and people seek to spread their wings after months of lockdown, the tourism industry has noted a huge uptick in interest for private aviation.
And it’s little wonder with health and safety remaining a top travel priority as coronavirus continues to plague the world, that demand for charter jets, planes and helicopters is on the rise.
“We’ve already seen, even with border restrictions, an increasing appetite for private travel, private jets and yachts,” says Kissa Castaneda, editor-in-chief at Tatler Asia.
While the commercial aviation industry remains mostly grounded by strict travel bans, the private industry is booming. Data from the Transportation Security Administration reveals passenger numbers started to climb throughout June for commercial flights. However, they still sit at about 75 percent off last year’s figures.
In stark contrast, private jet flights have recovered to 74 percent of 2019 passenger levels, according to WingX. “This [private aviation] will continue to boom and expand in the next few months and post-covid,” predicts Karishma Tulsidas, editor-in-chief at Robb Report Singapore.
After being declared Covid-19 free at the end of June, Fiji recently opened its borders – in particular to billionaires and VIPs.
In a Twee, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said, “Say you’re a billionaire looking to fly your own jet, rent your own island and invest millions of dollars in Fiji in the process. If you’ve taken all the necessary health precautions and borne all associated costs, you may have a new home to escape the pandemic in paradise.”
Within days, Fiji welcomed its first fleet of private jets carrying billionaires and ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI).
Adding to the appetite for private aviation is the uptick in interest in private member and aviation clubs. “This mode of transport offers a sense of security and greater guarantee of hygiene,” says Tara Loader-Wilkinson, editor-in-chief of Billionaire Magazine.
As Asia starts to open up and exclusivity becomes the new buzzword, chartering a helicopter or aircraft is slated to be the chosen mode of transport for those who can afford it. Adds Tulsidas, “UHNWI in Asia has pretty much weathered the effects of the pandemic, and they still have a huge appetite for luxury.”