A record number of travelers is now flying on private jets. Driven by health concerns during the Covid-19 pandemic, the industry is now facing an overflow of new private jet customers.
A record number of private jet flights…
According to Argus International, July 2021 witnessed more than 300’000 “private” jet flights. September 2021 saw close to 300’000 “private” jet flights as well. Argus International believes that October 2021 will witness even more “private” jet flights. NetJets stated that flight demand is the highest in its 57-year history, averaging 500 flights a day!
The private aviation industry is struggling to keep up…
Unfortunately, the “overly” high demand for private jets is straining the system.
The private aviation industry is facing supply chain troubles, struggling to meet current customer demands. According to a Private Jet Card Comparisons survey, more than 20% of private jet fliers had experienced a service issue in recent months. Talk about rich people’s problems!
According to industry executives, the main problem is the lack of aircraft. Fewer aircraft, new or used, are available for the charter market, as owners are using the planes themselves more often instead of hiring them out. Even fractional owners are using the planes themselves more often. The supply problem extends to the entire private aviation system, from charter companies to brokers and operators. Aircraft manufacturers have all raised production to meet current market demands.
Shortages and delays are also affecting the availability of plane parts. Repairs are taking longer than usual, taking even more planes from circulation.
Not only are planes and plane parts in low supply, but also pilots and cabin crew. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find pilots and cabin crew for private jets. Many pilots retired during the pandemic, and commercial airlines are massively hiring.
To top it all off, even catering companies are struggling to meet the demands of new private jet fliers, often calling in their catering orders on short notice.
All the issues listed above, from shortages in planes and plane parts to shortages in pilots and cabin crew, in addition to catering and air traffic problems, are contributing to the increasing number of delays and cancellations the industry is facing.
Amid the current challenges, some companies decided to halt sales and new customers. To exemplify, NetJets has halted sales of jet cards, fractional shares, and leases for light cabin aircraft.
At last, a few questions remain. Will private jet demand remain at an all-time high for long? How will the private aviation industry keep up?
Time will tell…