How private jet travel could soar post-COVID-19

Published: 18 September 2020 - 3 a.m.

VistaJet has continued to operate flights globally throughout the crisis where safe to do so and we’ve been able to adapt quickly to market changes.

We have seen three main phases during the crisis — starting mid-January as the virus moved from east to west, we saw a significant amount of flying from Asia to Europe, the Middle East and the United States. As the virus arrived further west during the second half of February and early March, in Asia it had already reduced, and we saw significant migration of traffic back to the market.

Overall, Q1 saw particular intense flying on our long-range global fleet – predominantly owing to the city pair requests. We have a floating fleet so our aircraft go wherever there is the demand from our clients, and it was this demand that was driving our traffic.

The second phase started at the end of March and went through to the last week of April, when we saw a significant slowdown in demand as borders were closing very rigidly. During this time we mainly performed repatriation flights and launched our community support service, working with governments and medical organisations around the world to ensure that those with critical travel requirements were able to keep moving.

As we entered the third phase, since the last week of April, we have seen a steady increase week by week in private jet travel around the globe. Today, we are back to around 85 percent of our pre-pandemic traffic and expect to see continued demand for business aviation.

As the number of touchpoints significantly decreases when flying private — 20 interactions as opposed to 700 when flying commercial — the travel industry also expects to see an increased number of first-time private flyers looking for more safe and reliable flight solutions with brands of trust.

Although currently only around 10 percent of people who can afford to fly private do, as of June 2020 71 percent of our new incoming requests are from passengers who have not regularly used business aviation solutions before. We are also seeing an increase in memberships from regions around the world, including the Middle East where — as a key growth market — we have a dedicated sales office and where our group company, Vista Global’s, headquarters are.

All in all, the strategy of our business model, our floating fleet, asset-free solution and our global infrastructure allows companies and individuals to pay only for the hours they fly rather than purchasing an entire aircraft. We predict that this will continue to become even more of a trend in the post-COVID climate.

With privacy and safety becoming paramount, health is being factored into travel choices more than ever before. The journey to the aircraft, the in-cabin experience and the final destination are all driving factors, and so working with the right partners has become even more important. As experts in their field, the partners that we work with are also key to supporting our customers around the world — whether that be our partners in hotels, such as Rocco Forte Hotels, travel experts, car services, chefs, restaurants, or to support other passengers such as children or pets.

Our brand makes flying simple and whatever that means today, we will adapt and stick to our promise. We have organised flights to more than 1,900 airports in 187 countries, covering 96 percent of the world. Whenever you see a business jet in a location, you know that business is being done.

Since 2010 Moore has been chief commercial officer of VistaJet and is a director of the company’s UK subsidiary. Ian is responsible for global market expansion, commercial negotiations, sales, marketing, customer service and product delivery. Previously he worked in various roles including VP strategy & sales, sales manager and strategy & analysis manager for NetJets Europe, from 2002 to 2008 and was VP sales & marketing for the business jet subsidiary of TATA, Business Jets Pvt Ltd (BJETS), from 2008 to 2010.

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