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PrivateFly grows despite 2020 challenges
This year PrivateFly has launched its new jet card membership programme, revealed a selection of fixed-rate 'City Pairs' offers and expanded its international team in recent months to meet the expected demand in 2021.
The cat that got the Gulfstream: six per cent of PrivateFly flights had pets onboard this year.

PrivateFly has revealed that its private jet clients have flown to and from a total of 648 airports in 2020, including 54 in the UK. The statistics come from the company's annual Private Jet Charter Trends report for 2020, which also revealed 58 per cent of flights were booked within a week of take-off, due to the uncertainty around travel plans during the pandemic.

15 August was PrivateFly's busiest day of the year for flights, driven by strong summer demand from families jetting off to Europe as lockdown restrictions eased worldwide.

CEO Adam Twidell says: “2020 has certainly been an unusual and challenging year, but I'm very grateful that our industry has not seen demand fall in quite the same way as airlines or other travel sectors. In fact, at PrivateFly we have grown our flight activity year-on-year, arranging more flights than in 2019. Private aviation has always offered the convenience of using smaller airports to provide point-to-point travel, but this year we've provided a huge number of bespoke routings, due to repatriations and other atypical itineraries. Our flights touched in or out of 648 different airports, which is three to four times more than major airline route networks.

“Cuts to commercial services and the desire to fly in 'your own private bubble' have led to more new clients trying private jet travel for the first time. We're also seeing a rise in demand for our jet card membership programme, as occasional users move towards using private aviation for more of their travel. With vaccines now on the horizon, travel confidence is increasing and while much of the usual business travel provided by our sector is still on hold, we are optimistic for continued growth in 2021.”

The findings come in response to a move away from commercial airlines following widespread travel restrictions and a mass cancellation of flights, and as passengers also sought 'safer' ways to fly. The worldwide slump in international business travel meant that most flights throughout the year were for personal or leisure travel.

Other findings from PrivateFly's 2020 annual report include: London was PrivateFly's top destination this year, followed by Nice, with clients drawn to the south of France this year to visit second homes or for holidays; PrivateFly's longest flight in 2020 clocked in at 11,966 miles between London and Auckland in New Zealand. The Gulfstream G650 flight, arranged for a family keen to return home but avoid airline flights, performed the trip in just under 22 hours of flying time with a fuel stop in Kuala Lumpur; six per cent of flights had pets on board (compared to four per cent in 2019), with PrivateFly arranging for hundreds of cats, dogs, parrots and snakes to travel alongside their owners. Memorable pet flights included a family's flight from Italy to the UK with their 16 pet cats; and helping an animal rescue charity fly 29 homeless dogs and one cat from Crete to London; and small jets (seating four to seven people) performed around half of all flights in 2020, driven by strong summer demand from families.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, PrivateFly has launched its new jet card membership programme earlier this year; revealed a selection of fixed-rate 'City Pairs' offers amid rising demand for winter travel; and expanded its international team in recent months to meet the expected demand in 2021.

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