The pandemic has caused sisemic shifts in the global aviation market, with many new trends emerging, and a preference for private jet travel is one of them. Once a privilege of VIPs only, this travel solution has become an everyday consideration for organisations of all sizes, particularly those in the Middle East.
Pre-COVID, the Middle East and North African Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) had highlighted the ongoing organic rise in demand for private travel, with up to 70 per cent of private jet flights in the region operated for business purposes.
“The pandemic has served to further emphasise the benefits of private air travel beyond the VIP market, with corporates increasingly recognising the business opportunities it offers in terms of safety, security and accessibility,” according to Thomas Flohr, Founder and Chairman of Vista Global.
Testament to this, the group’s global business aviation company, VistaJet, which offers a popular fixed-rate membership programme, has witnessed a rapid acceleration in demand since the pandemic, with new subscription memberships increasing 29 per cent year on year in 2020. The Middle East accounted for 10 per cent of this.
Furthermore, 2020 was also a record year for VistaJet’s On Demand services, with bookings growing 15 per cent year-on-year and Flohr anticipating a continuation of this trend in 2021, driven by an “explosion in demand from both corporate and first-time fliers wanting to conduct travel safely and without delays across the globe”.
The very nature of private travel means it eliminates as many as 680 person-to-person touchpoints, according to VistaJet Chief Commercial Officer Ian Moore.
“One of the key draws for new members in the current climate is the small number of touchpoints when flying private — 20 as opposed to 700 when flying commercial,” he confirms. Citing the company’s recent The Future of Private Travel survey, he reveals 79 per cent of people across the HNWI segment say they would be more inclined to travel by private jet than before, considering it a “safer and more reliable flight solution”.
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