Private jet market struggles with increasing demand for escape
What causes the problems are jet cancellations. “Most of these jet cards, if the operator cancels it due to a mechanical problem, they guarantee you a replacement plane at no cost,” Mr. Gollan said. But if the operator cancels because he doesn’t have a plane, he said, “your broker might say, ‘Sorry, we lost this plane, but we have three new quotes.’ Instead of paying $ 18,000 to go to New York, you could pay $ 28,000.
Your choice at this time? Get a refund and take a commercial flight or pay the extra and go.
“Aircraft operators have been inundated with requests,” said Gregg Brunson-Pitts, founder and president of Advanced Aviation, a boutique jet brokerage. “We had to be creative.
Since the lockdown was eased last year, charter prices have risen 15%, but customers aren’t balking, Brunson-Pitts said. Still, in the rush to fly privately, he said, future flyers were needed to ensure their broker works with reputable jet owners who properly maintain planes and train pilots.
Jet cards are supposed to provide more security. Travelers have already paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the hours and want the plane when they want it, usually on relatively short notice.
But these, too, have been in great demand. Even higher prices did not dampen interest.
“After a few price increases that did not slow sales to a rate we were comfortable with, we halted jet card sales altogether and moved to a wait list,” Mr. Gallagher from NetJets. “We could have tested this price elasticity more, but I didn’t want the perception of a cash roundup in a booming market. We have seen how the demand increases in summer.
Kenny Dichter, chairman and CEO of Wheels Up, another vendor, said he doesn’t see the jet card market cooling off. “People are putting money in to travel until 2022,” he said. “The demand we are seeing now is a result of the stubbornness of this Covid crisis. “