Bizjet Operators See COVID-19 Bump


Charter operators are reporting a major bump in interest thanks to the spread of COVID-19 as those who can afford it avoid the aerial petri dishes of hub and spoke travel. Fortune is reporting that business aircraft operators have seen a major uptick in interest and business in the last couple of weeks as those who have to travel look for safer alternatives to the airlines or to simply get around the growing list of route suspensions. “There’s undoubtedly been a rise in demand for short-notice, on-demand charter,” Adam Twidell, chief executive officer of jet charter provider PrivateFly, told Fortune. “We’ve had a very significant number of inquiries, for group evacuations, and from corporates and individuals.”

In fact, while bizjet charters rarely fly full, many of the customers are ignoring luxury and packing as many people as they can on the aircraft. “The number of private jet requests have gone up—especially on long-haul flights,” Insignia U.S. President Richard Lewis told Fortune. “They’re not willing to share the cabin with other people.” While private aviation is filling a need now, it may not last. Most of those who fly that way are also heavily invested and the effect of the virus response on the stock market could dampen demand quickly. “Any short-term gain is obviously balanced with longer-term concerns and challenges, including the impact on the global economy,” Twidell said. “Even now, while we’re seeing short-term additional demand, other clients are changing or canceling their travel plans.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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