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Increased demand and lower prices

Two aviation charter providers are reporting a surge in business over the last few weeks as pent-up demand, travel safety concerns and lower prices are hitting the market.

Richard Zaher, founder and CEO of Paramount Business Jets, said charter requests in North America increased 53 percent and were up 103 percent worldwide.  Many of these requests were classified as critical business travel.  “Even with the increase in online communications and meetings, when contracts need signing, clients still prefer to do so in person,” he said, adding repatriation flights, relocating family members and transporting medical personnel and COVID-19 test kits also added to the increase in trip requests.

Todd Weeber, chief operating officer for Magellan Jets, said, “The last couple of weeks have been very positive for charter with smaller aircraft leading the surge.”  Weeber also noted that “more than half” his company’s new clients are people who are also new to charter travel. “It’s clear they feel safer travelling in smaller groups and a more isolated environment until there’s a vaccine,” he added. “That’s where the demand seems to be coming from.”

In addition, operators are offering lower prices, according to Zaher.   He said he’s seen trip prices as much as 20 percent lower than usual.

“There’s major competition right now to lower costs, and some operators are willing to do whatever it takes to earn business and keep their aircraft flying,” he said. “Combined with the suspension of 7.5% FET tax, flying privately is more cost effective today than it was last year at this time.”