As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, disrupting travel and leading to quarantines, wealthy Americans are turning to private jet companies for their travel needs reports Bloomberg.
According to the report, "Private jet operators are seeing a spike in demand as well-heeled travelers look to minimize their public exposure and find alternatives to suspended flights."
As Adam Twidell, chief executive officer of jet charter provider PrivateFly, explained, "There’s undoubtedly been a rise in demand for short-notice, on-demand charter. We’ve had a very significant number of inquiries, for group evacuations, and from corporates and individuals.”
In one case, Bloomberg reports, "Charter company Victor recently had a film studio ask about flying 50 people to Los Angeles from Tokyo to limit interaction with other travelers."
Richard Lewis, U.S. president of Insignia Group which provides travel services for the rich, "The number of private jet requests have gone up -- especially on long-haul flights. They’re not willing to share the cabin with other people.”
As one might expect flying private is quite pricey, with Bloomberg reporting, "The cost of flying round-trip from New York to London on a 12-seat Gulfstream IV is about $140,000."
Execs in the private aviation industry also stated that there is a downside.
According to Richard Zaher, founder and CEO of Paramount Business Jets in Virginia, "Our clients are people who are heavily invested in the markets. When they’re losing millions of dollars, they’re not going to necessarily want to go on vacation to a place where they’re going to spend a lot of money and also possibly expose themselves to people who may carry the virus.”
He then added, "This is not good for private aviation,” which was echoed by Twidell who claimed, "Any short-term gain is obviously balanced with longer-term concerns and challenges, including the impact on the global economy. “Even now, while we’re seeing short-term additional demand, other clients are changing or canceling their travel plans.”