No longer limited to being a hobby for the elite, private jet travel is experiencing a surge in popularity across wider demographics. As a reflection of this, Air Partner's Private Jets business has seen a 56.8% increase in JetCard bookings globally from 1 February to 30 June compared to the same period last year, indicating that leisure travellers are increasingly looking to secure flexible and safe travel now that travel restrictions have been eased.
The number of new global members is also up 36.8% year-on-year, while customer deposits are up 85.2%. Growth is largely driven by US bookings which are up by 152.9% compared to last year with the number of new US JetCard members up by 225.0%
Momentum is starting to build in the UK Private Jets business, with activity now back at pre-COVID levels. UK JetCard bookings are also making a significant comeback and are up 6.3% with customer deposits up 82.4% year-on-year. This is expected to continue as the vaccine roll-out drives the return of business and leisure travel.
Air Partner has seen demand recover faster for its JetCard product than ad-hoc flying. The JetCard programme allows clients to buy private jet flying 'hours' in advance, while offering fixed rates across six cabin sizes and the ability to change booking details at short notice, without penalty. It is proving extremely popular as it gives travellers the ability to fly in safety, but with flexibility in case they need to amend plans.
Private jet travel has become the preferred mode of transport for a wider community of leisure travellers including multi-generation families, young couples and groups of friends. Many people have turned to private jets in place of first or business class as they have come to appreciate the speed, convenience and safety that private jet travel facilitates.
Aimed at those new to private flying and for those who want to future-proof their travel plans, Air Partner launched JetCard 5 in the UK and Europe in May 2020. It was the first JetCard product with a prepaid package of only five hours’ flying time, in order to further meet the needs of flyers during disrupted times, and this has further fuelled demand.
Mark Briffa, Group CEO of Air Partner plc, commented: "It is extremely encouraging to see such strong growth in our Private Jets business, particularly in the US, and the growing popularity of our JetCard product among both new and existing customers globally. In this environment, customers especially value the flexibility offered by our JetCard in case they need to change their flight plans, as well as the security of knowing a flight will be available to them should they need one at short notice."
Kevin MacNaughton, Managing Director, Charter, says: “The increasing interest in our Private Jet services, especially with regard to our JetCard, demonstrates the growing desire for safety and flexibility during these disrupted times. A broader spectrum of travellers including families is emerging and many individuals are becoming first time private flyers. Our JetCard is ideally placed to serve the current market.”