Florida based private jet provider Monarch Air Group has registered a steady increase in international bookings since mid-2021, aligned with the lift of travel restrictions and vaccination drives. Here, the company’s head of pubic relations, Felipe Reisch, looks at what 2022 has in store for the private jet industry.
International travel demand
International travel demand in 2020 presented various oscillations, with its counterpart, the domestic market, especially in the US, registering an historic surge in the second semester. The start of 2021 triggered some movement for international private jet charters, with people opting for private aviation as a safer means of transportation, far away from normal check-in lines and potential virus infections. Nevertheless, it was still limited due to hefty travel bans in various countries and the lack of vaccinations drives in certain destinations.
The scenario is quite different now at the end of 2021 and, after two unparalleled pandemic years, passengers are looking for a well-deserved break. According to recent Monarch Air Group’s internal data, which indicate a record sales increase of 123 per cent, a private jet provider based in Fort Lauderdale, the main international destinations for private jet charters are the Bahamas, Mexico, United States Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Dominican Republic, Greece, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Costa Rica, St. Maarten, and Anguilla.
Passengers are mostly travelling from the US and Canada and clearly opting for warm weather destinations, an unsurprising trend that dates to pre-pandemic years, especially when winter is on the horizon for the northern hemisphere. Nevertheless, although international, these are relatively short haul routes when flying from the US or Canada. What about long-haul transatlantic flights? Are they expected to recover soon?
Transatlantic private jet charter
Recent data provided by aviation research company WingX states that international travel in Europe has picked up and even has higher demand than domestic private jet travel. In fact, it is up 24 per cent compared to October 2019, with the busiest routes being to and from France, from the UK, Italy, and Switzerland. What explains the previous? Events are starting to pick up in the continent, especially major sporting competitions and soccer leagues, like the recent Grand Prix, as well as face-to-face business meetings and conferences.
Regarding transatlantic flights from the US to Europe, numbers aren’t expected to recover until early 2022, after Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year – three holidays that will continue to bolster the unprecedented figures for the domestic private jet travel in the US, which has been well above pre-pandemic levels since 2020.
Private jet aircraft
Furthermore, the early 2022 trend of light and midsize jets soaring the skies thanks to increased domestic activity (mainly short routes of under three hours) should continue its pace until early 2022, or until larger aircraft are booked to cross the pond to Europe. In fact, since early 2021, Monarch Air Group reports that 55 per cent of all chartered aircraft have been light or midsized jets, compared to only 14 per cent super midsized and heavy executive planes. Turboprops are still a reliable option, accounting for 27 per cent of all charter bookings for the company.
What to expect in the following months regarding private jet activity? Domestic activity should continue rising for larger private jet hubs in the world, as holidays are just around the corner and major events have no Covid restrictions. International private travel should also continue its upward trend, with longer flights occurring in early 2022, after the holidays and with most of the countries with at least two major vaccination drives in their populations.
2022 will be the year where international leisure travel will regain its shape, after more than two years of uncertainty and struggle with the pandemic. Passengers needing to unwind, explore and discover new wonders, can once again rely on private aviation as a means to experience those unique moments.