The whole world has suffered at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic. The private aviation industry is no different.
Experts made numerous predictions about the industry’s future and gave tips to battle the situation. The industry soon recovered from its losses and started operating again as soon as the lockdown was lifted.
However, numerous safety measures were adopted to ensure the safety of passengers.
Crowded flights and big airports are the hubs for the spread of Coronavirus. Thus, people belonging to the higher class of society started opting for chartered flight instead of commercial ones.
However, even in the chartered flights, the passengers are expected to follow social distancing rules and wear masks and headgears. With increasing numbers of coronavirus cases, more and more passengers are switching to private jets. With that, the private aviation industry is seen blooming.
Change in Customer’s trends
Justin Bowman, CEO of Air Charter Service, says that even though England is witnessing its second lockdown in full swing yet, people plan trips for Christmas. People are hoping for some normality during Christmas.
Private Fly, a leading private jet service provider, has observed a spike in Customer’s booking from 25% to as high as 65%.
The rise in the price is an expected move. The private chartered companies will do their best to make up for their loss during the first few months of the unlock phase.
People who can afford the service of the private jet are going for it. Apart from the high safety level that these private charters provide, they also offer excellent inflight catering services. Even when life goes back to normal, the commercial airlines will face a long slog before going back to full use.
The prices and accessibility
Commercial airlines are expected to offer open seats soon. They will also provide inflight catering services, which will be done to reduce coronavirus transmission. However, this will probably lead to an increase in prices.
With the price of commercial flights going high, the gap between commercial and private aviation will reduce considerably. If that becomes the case, people will prefer to spend a bit more and hire a chartered flight instead of going for a commercial one.
As far as the prices of private aviation are concerned, according to AirX, an eight-passenger private jet will cost around £30000 till Malaga. This price will remain fixed irrespective of the number of passengers on board. If there are all eight passengers on board, it will cost around £3750 per person, which is approximately four times the price of business aviation.
AirX also noted that there are incurring additional cleaning costs worth £50000 per month. The increased cleaning cost is also responsible for an increase in fares in private aviation.
Safety protocols observed by crew members
Airlines are regularly testing their crew members for the Coronavirus and are strictly following the safety guidelines. CDC or Centre for Disease Control is responsible for making recommendations to air carriers. It has made the following recommendations to the private chartered companies.
· Operators should make private transport arrangements to take crew members to the hotel or homes or parking lots.
· For asymptomatic Covid 19 crew members, CDC suggests for three days extra precautions after isolation.
· Infected crew members must stay away from work for at least 14 days.
· Crew members should not come to work unless they fulfill all the criteria laid down by the CDC regarding discontinuing isolation.
· If any crew member is suffering from fever, the airlines shouldn't allow them to come to work.
Post lockdown challenges faced by the private aviation industry
During the pre-pandemic times, the airline consumers included travelers, SMEs, traders, and students. However, in the post lockdown scenario, the only significant demand is coming from traders.
People are now traveling only when there is a grave need to travel. Moreover, by following social distancing policies, airlines have no choice left but to increase the prices. It, in turn, is resulting in the vanishing of demand. Besides, the private aviation industry is also facing the problem of evaporation of the ancillary revenues.
It has become a challenge for aviation planners to set broader parameters when there is missing qualitative data. The only way to calculate the qualitative factors is to go out in the market and observe it, which is quite a challenge during this pandemic.
Future of the private aviation industry
Richard Koe, the managing director at WingX, says that he is observing a gradual yet steady increase in the private aviation industry. As far as the future is concerned, Richard Koe says that business aviation might play a more prominent role in 2021.
Also, he is assuming that the virus would be under control in the coming year. As economies across the world will recover, the demand for business travel will increase.
Doug Golan says that there are some critical points as to why people are optimistic about private aviation's future. According to Doug, many CEOs of various airlines predict that it might take at least three years to become a routine in this industry.
Matt Carroll, a senior vice president of Marketing at Signature Flight Support, mentioned that COVID 19 has made private aviation more accessible.
Shawn Hall, the Chief Commercial Officer of Signature Flight Support, expects the private aviation industry to bounce back stronger than ever before.
Because of limited contact and exposure, the private aviation industry will surely boost in this challenging time. Other features like the flexibility of destination and timing are also what are attracting consumers towards private aviation.
The world is slowly adapting itself to this new normal, and so is the aviation industry. People are taking all the necessary precautions during travel to immune themselves from the deadly virus.
The economies across the globe are also set to recover, which will positively impact this industry. However, this new normal will become permanent until the vaccine is out and the situation is under control.