The coronavirus pandemic had a definite impact on nearly all businesses around the globe. Some have been hit harder to the point of bankruptcy, while others, like companies specializing in online technologies, have gone through a period of immense increase in growth. The aviation market, unfortunately, has been hit hard.
Because of travel bans and the stop of tourism, the industry has grounded to a halt and experts are claiming this is the worst crisis in the history of aviation. However, desperate times call for strong measures and the companies around the globe have been adapting to the situation.
As nearly all regular flights were cancelled for several months, businesses around the world were forced to lay-off thousands of employees as their aircraft were grounded. That is until the demand for cargo and group air charter flights saw a surge in demand.
400% increase in requests for private charters
Some private jet operators have said to have seen an increase of up to 400% in requests for private air charters. The key reasoning behind it is relatively obvious: standard operators wouldn’t be able to fly, whereas thousands of people were in desperate need to get back to their homes.
In addition to the people in need of evacuation, group flights like critical business trips, travel to secondary homes and relocation of employees were among the top requests for private jets. People were and still are willing to pay more for the highest level of safety they can get.
Private charter vs. regular flight
There are several key differences between private air charters and regular flights that must be discussed to understand the growth of charter services.
Contrary to the commercial flight services, a private air charter is an unscheduled flight, where a client rents entire aircraft for a group flight and can determine both destination and time of arrival. It is extremely convenient, especially when no other options are available. The customer can choose a departure point and destination, without the need to wait for a scheduled flight to go ahead.
Another key difference is safety during this unprecedented time. Although the aviation market has always had strict hygiene requirements, flying with a private air charter is most of the time a safer option. Less passengers on an aircraft automatically lower the risk of infection. People spend less time at the airport and can board the plane within 15 minutes of arriving at the departure location as well, again reducing the exposure time.
Considering the current situation, private charter is probably the safest option to travel.
What’s the future like?
It is difficult to predict when the aviation industry will recover. Various companies disagree and share different forecasts, ranging from a year up to half-a-decade. One thing is clear: private charters will remain the safest and most reliable means of transport, especially for group flights.
Companies are adapting to the pandemic and many anticipate a second wave and new quarantine measures. It will be even more important for a business to keep at least part of their operations going to mitigate losses. International businesses, who need to relocate their employees have already started looking for charter brokers and partnerships, which can help get their staff in place.
Catriona Taylor, Group Passenger Operations Director at Chapman Freeborn, a global aircraft charter specialist, believes it could result in a long-term change in attitude.
“Charters can travel to a wider variety of airports, often getting far closer to their eventual destination than if they had to fly on a carrier’s route network,” Catriona said. “A lot of companies have found that if you are flying 100 people on a scheduled airline, putting them up in a hotel and then transporting them all somewhere else the next day, it would have been more efficient and cost-effective to charter. That’s an important factor and not to be under-estimated. But the biggest driver in a rise in charter flight numbers is the ability for companies to personalize safety arrangements and reassure employees they have done everything possible to keep them safe.”
Private charter group flights are most likely to grow even more after the pandemic and aviation companies will have nowhere to go, but to keep up with the demand.
Experts of safe flights
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