Flexjet and PrivateFly, two of Europe’s leading private jet providers, are reporting unprecedented demand for travel in September and October, with continuing high levels of premium leisure flying and the return of business travel fuelling an exceptional interest in private flights.
Both companies have revealed heightened operations in September compared to August, bucking usual seasonal trends, and following an already-busy summer season. Luxury fleet operator Flexjet, which offers shared ownership of its premium private jets in Europe, is operating +53% more flights in September than the previous month, with bookings for October also rising rapidly.
Private jet charter and jet card provider PrivateFly has also seen bookings and enquiries continuing very strongly into September. Both companies – mirroring the European industry as a whole – would traditionally see a seasonal fall in demand going into the autumn. Marine Eugène, European Managing Director of Flexjet & PrivateFly, said: “Our industry in Europe traditionally sees a significant peak in July and August, followed by a tailing off in September – but not this year.
“We are currently experiencing exceptionally strong demand, with the appetite for personal travel not yet sated after a later start to summer due to restrictions, and now business flying is also taking off alongside. Many of our Flexjet Owners and PrivateFly clients are starting to fly for business again and we are witnessing a release of pent-up demand for in-person meetings. We have senior executives and entrepreneurs in sectors such as finance and technology, booking multiple itineraries to see investment targets or make site visits. Key business centres such as Paris, Zurich, Munich, and Amsterdam are all now back in our current top ten destinations list in Europe, which we have not seen for some time,” Eugène added.
The UK government’s relaxation of travel restrictions from 4 October has helped drive increased leisure flights alongside business, according to Eugène, with wealthy travellers continuing to make plans for short breaks or holidays by private jet into the autumn period and later than usually seen. The US easing of its ban on UK and European travellers from November is also adding to the unusually high demand in the final quarter of the year.
She added: “We are seeing a level of private aviation demand not seen for a long time and it is continuing to grow. There are many factors at play including the return of business travel; easing restrictions; changing patterns in leisure flying; and the continued wellbeing appeal of private aviation to avoid the health risks of crowds and shared cabins – both for your family and for your employees.”
In the market overall, stronger demand than supply is also driving a market shift as price increases are encouraging customers to seek the guaranteed hourly rates and availability that come with subscription models such as shared ownership, memberships and jet cards.
“At Flexjet we are well-prepared for this upswing, having grown our fleet of aircraft in Europe by 40% so far in 2021, with further additions coming in the final quarter, and more again in 2022 – including our fleet of Gulfstream G650s based globally. Our super-midsize Praetor 600s not only give our Owners access to Europe and the Middle East from the UK, but also the ability to fly directly to the East Coast of the U.S. Long range flying has already been very healthy this year and we are now seeing a rise in queries for flights across the Atlantic, promising an interesting end of the year, when demand may also surpass supply in that segment.”