Private jet business soars despite commercial airline revival

Private jet use, which has surged during the coronavirus pandemic, shows no signs of abating, even as millions of passengers are returning to commercial airlines and inflation is driving up the cost of chartering.

According to aviation data company WingX, the number of global business aviation flights in 2022 will increase by 10% year-on-year and 14% more than before the 2019 pandemic. WingX CEO Richard Koe said demand for his private jet in the past two years has been “record-breaking”.

Private flight bookings began to surge in 2020 as wealthy and business travelers sought to avoid crowds and COVID-19 restrictions on airlines. Pilot shortages and service cuts at smaller airports are also attracting private flyers.

US private jet companies continued to report strong bookings last year. Flexjet said last month’s holiday season was the busiest in the company’s history. EvoJets said vacation bookings began two months earlier than he averaged as flyers rushed to secure limited aircraft.

Kenny Dichter, CEO of private jet charter Wheels Up, said: Dichter said the company’s revenue increased by 39% year-over-year.

Demand remains strong despite concerns about rising costs and a much higher carbon footprint per passenger than commercial and commercial airlines.

“It’s convenient for me,” said Jeffrey Aletsch, a financial adviser in New Jersey who flew to Florida for vacation with his wife and two 75-pound dogs.

There is some evidence that the private jet boom is plateauing as jet fuel and other costs rise. Prepaid private jet rental prices rose 21% from December 2021 to December 2022, with an average price of $11,748 per hour, according to the advisory service Private Jet Card Comparisons.

Business jet and turboprop flights in December fell by 2% compared to December 2021, but remained 15% higher than in December 2019, according to WingX.

Still, according to a recent report from Honeywell, nearly three-quarters of private jet passengers expect to fly the same amount this year. Only 4% said they expected to fly less.

“Inflation didn’t affect the 1%,” said Kevin Shin, president of private jet broker Icarus Jet.

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