Business Aviation Begins Bouncing Back with Increased Charter Travel During COVID-19

Charter Travel

The global pandemic has made lasting impacts on the aviation industry and several steps are currently being taken to adjust to the new realities for future travel. One area of aviation that has been able to pivot and cater to the needs of social distancing is the business aviation sector. Through the use of charter travel, carriers are able to more easily meet the new standards for aircraft cleanliness due to smaller aircraft size, fewer points of contact throughout the travel journey for passengers, and more flexible flight schedules allowing for decontamination procedure. This means that these carriers are able to provide air travel to smaller groups of individuals at a time accommodating new, post-COVID realities and abiding by CDC recommendations.

According to a recent press release from Jet Maintenance Solutions, private aviation companies have seen a 400 percent increase in queries and bookings, likely driven by the ability for passengers to properly social distance using private aircraft. “According to the report made by GlobeAir, compared to commercial flights, flying private is 30 times less risky regarding the exposure to an infected person,” the release stated. “With a minimal risk of infection and ability to fly long distances, private aviation has proven to be a reliable choice among [a] wide variety of individuals, from typical working class to business people and government officials.”

Due to the increased layer of safety that can be provided through charter aircraft with regards to sanitation procedure, at least while the commercial aviation space implements the necessary changes, new clientele for private jet operators are rapidly increasing. “May is on track to be the best month of new customer relationships that we’ve seen in the past 10 years,” said Patrick Gallagher, President of NetJets, in a recent article from the New York Times. The same article also referenced the safety appeal of private travel, noting “A person on the average commercial flight has about 700 points of contact with other people and objects, according to a recent analysis by the consulting firm McKinsey, but private flights have only 20 to 30.”

Aviation experts are starting to see that, at least domestically, private travel providers are taking note of this growth and seeing it as an opportunity to expand and potentially retain a new type of traveler that may not have considered this travel style before.

“While aviation leaders, both business and commercial, continue to adjust and adapt as needed to accommodate evolving passenger needs and expectations, I think we’ll see notable adjustments in the business aviation business models to accommodate a broader clientele range,” stated John Calvert, Principal Strategic Development Manager at Collins Aerospace, in a recent discussion with Connected Aviation Today. “There is a certain price point for travelers who already choose to travel in business or first class commercially that the added safety with regards to social distancing that comes with charter travel could make the expense difference worth it.”

With an expanding audience for charter travel, the Connected Aviation Today team is interested in seeing how business aviation providers apply that growth to their business models moving forward, even beyond the global pandemic.