While commercial airlines are facing the biggest crisis of their existence (even with the demand of travel returning to pre-pandemic levels), another branch of the aviation industry is positively booming. As the global elite search for safer, smoother solutions to travel’s current international imbroglio, looking to chart a new path to yachts, second homes and island hideaways in the sun, demand for private jets is taking off.
Christie, a director at Air Charter Service, one of the world’s largest aircraft charter broker, saw a 258 per cent rise in enquiries during the height of the pandemic, as first-class passengers sought to reduce the risk of exposure to Covid-19 by flying private. These high-flyers don’t restrict themselves to just one jet, either. ‘We had a previous client who went on a four-day shopping trip across Europe before the lockdown’, says Christie. ‘She hired a jet for herself, and then a cargo plane to follow her, picking up all the shopping’.
As ever, when it comes to private, the golden rule is that the client gets what the client wants – all the way down to the inflight menu. Champagne and caviar on take-off are, naturally, a given, but specific requests – be it food from a favourite Mayfair restaurant or McDonald’s – will be catered to without question.