Flexjet and PrivateFly have reported an unprecedented demand for travel in September and October, with high levels of premium leisure flying and the return of business travel fuelling an exceptional interest in private flights.
Both companies have revealed increased operations in September compared to August. Fleet operator Flexjet, which offers shared ownership of its premium private jets in Europe, is operating over 53% more flights in September than the previous month, with bookings for October also rising.
PrivateFly has also seen bookings and enquiries continuing strongly into September. Both PrivateFly and Flexjet, mirroring the European industry as a whole, would traditionally see a seasonal fall in demand going into the autumn.
“Our industry in Europe traditionally sees a significant peak in July and August, followed by a tailing off in September, but not this year,” says Marine Eugène European managing director of Flexjet and PrivateFly. “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.”
The UK government's relaxation of travel restrictions has helped drive increased leisure flights alongside business, according to Eugène, with travellers continuing to make plans for short breaks or holidays by private jet into the autumn period. The U.S. 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.
Eugène adds: “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.
“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.”