As commercial airlines struggle with travel restrictions and medical advisories stemming from COVID-19 concerns, there is one sector that has seen its business soar.
Leesburg, Virginia-based Paramount Business Jets was recently quoted as telling the news agency AFP that is has seen a 400 percent increase in inquiries for its private jets as concerns over the spread of the virus have grown. For Paramount, this has translated to a 25 percent uptick in business.
And, according to the report, this growing interest in non-commercial air travel stems primarily from clients who have never flown privately before, but are willing to accept ticket prices that can be as much as 25 times more expensive.
In addition to personal safety concerns, some are willing to pay the excessive rates due to a lack of available options. According to ForwardKeys, a company that specializes in travel data, up to 3.3 million seats on transatlantic flights alone are being eliminated.
Delta Airlines also announced flight capacity reduction of 40 percent – parking up to 300 planes for at least the next month. And according to the International Air Transport Association, demand for global air travel is projected to decline for the first time since 2009.
It’s estimated that airlines could lose up to $113 billion in revenue.
Not surprisingly, the biggest surge in private air travel centers on Asia. Commercial flights to and from China alone have dropped by nearly 90 percent since the beginning of the year.
In contrast, according to an article on SpaceDaily.com, Air Charter Service in Hong Kong has seen a 70 percent increase in bookings since January, and a 170 percent increase in new customers.
What remains to be seen, however, is if this boom will continue. As more stringent travel restrictions and quarantines are put in place, it could be a short, although profitable ride for private airlines.