There was a day when the private aviation industry served the corporate world, transporting board members to meetings and taking them back home the same day, and flying those leisure travelers seeking to run away from crowded airports and check-in lines. That was not so long ago. Covid-19 has changed the way we live and certainly the way we travel.
New private jet passengers are here to stay
Once you try private aviation there is no turning back. With commercial aviation grounded and no recovery in the foreseeable future, private aviation has served a wide array of flyers. In the case of Monarch Air Group, the number of families flying private has increased drastically, while also expanding the number of children and pets. Are therefore prices for flying private getting cheaper?
Not quite, although that has not been an obstacle for first-time private flyers. Sharing the cost of a private jet flight within two families, for instance, will offset the overall price thus allowing to get much closer to destination in far less time. This is the main driver for families opting to fly private today, the unparalleled flexibility and an overall safer travel experience.
The Fort Lauderdale-based private jet provider has also registered a cross generational trend; with not only an increase in children and young families traveling private, but also those booking flights for elderly parents with the aim to avoid exposure to the virus. Luxury aside, private aviation is the option for a truly safe means of transportation.
Safety travel experience drives demand
First-time private jet flyers, whether previously flying on commercial first-class, families or just passengers seeking a reliable means of transportation during the pandemic, have all been attracted to the industry thanks to one key attribute: safety. The private aviation travel experience is just safer thanks to less touchpoints, reduced staff involved in the process and a controlled environment in the cabin, business travelers barely have contact with personnel. This all leads to less exposure to the virus, resulting in the main variable for an increase in demand. In other words, private aviation is inherently socially distanced.
According to WINGX, private air traffic has increased by 10% in Florida year-over-year, with West Palm Beach, Miami-Opa Locka and Naples airports breaking activity records. This has also translated in increased demand to the Caribbean, registering a double-digit increase in flight activity in US Virgin Islands, Antigua Barbuda, and Guadeloupe.
Covid-19 has certainly shifted the type of private jet travelers on board aircraft today, with an influx of a more diverse passenger pool thanks to safety and less exposure to the virus. Still, the flawless customer service that defines this industry has not changed, a fact that will play a key role for transforming those once first-time travelers into returning customers.