PrivateFly reveals clients have flown between 648 airports this year, in new report reflecting the impact of COVID-19 in 2020

  • A total of 648 global airports used (including 54 in the UK) shows the flexibility of private jet travel
  • Trend towards ‘last minute’ booking with over half of flights booked 7 days or less in advance
  • August 15 was the busiest day for flights, as demand for private jet travel surged in the summer months

London, UK, 16 December 2020: PrivateFly, a Directional Aviation company, revealed its private jet clients have flown to and from a total of 648 airports in 2020, including a staggering 54 in the UK.

The statistics come from PrivateFly’s annual Private Jet Charter Trends report for 2020, which also revealed 58% of flights were booked within a week of take-off, due to the uncertainty around travel plans during the pandemic.

August 15 was PrivateFly’s busiest day of the year for flights, driven by strong summer demand from families jetting off to Europe as lockdown restrictions eased worldwide.

Adam Twidell, PrivateFly CEO, said: “2020 has certainly been an unusual year, but I’m very grateful that private aviation has not seen demand fall in quite the same way as airlines or other travel sectors.

“In fact, at PrivateFly we have seen increased demand for private jet travel during the pandemic. We grew our flight activity year-on-year, arranging more flights than in 2019, and our enquiry levels were almost double on the previous year.

“Private aviation has always offered the convenience of using smaller airports to get closer to your destination, but this year we’ve provided a huge number of bespoke routings, due to repatriations and other atypical itineraries.
Our clients flew to 648 different airports, which is 3-4 times more than major airline route networks.

“Cuts to commercial services and the desire to fly in ‘your own private bubble’ have led more new clients flying by private jet for the first time. We’re also seeing a rise in demand for our Jet Card membership program, as occasional users move towards using private aviation for more of their travel.

“With vaccines now on the horizon, travel confidence is increasing and while much of the usual business travel provided by our sector is still on hold, we are optimistic for continued growth in 2021.”

The findings come in response to a move away from commercial airlines following widespread travel restrictions and a mass cancellation of flights, as passengers also sought ‘safer’ ways to fly. The worldwide slump in international business travel meant that most flights throughout the year were for personal or leisure travel.

Other findings from PrivateFly’s 2020 annual report include:

  • London was PrivateFly’s top destination this year, followed by Nice, with clients drawn to the South of France this year to visit second homes or for holidays.
  • PrivateFly’s longest flight in 2020 clocked in at 11,966 miles between London and Auckland in New Zealand. The Gulfstream G650 flight, arranged for a family keen to return home but avoid airline flights, performed the trip in just under 22 hours of flying time, with a fuel stop in Kuala Lumpur.
  • 6% of flights had pets on board (compared to 4% in 2019), with PrivateFly arranging for hundreds of cats, dogs, parrots and snakes to travel alongside their owners. Memorable pet flights included a family’s flight from Italy to the UK with their 16 pet cats; and helping an animal rescue charity fly 29 homeless dogs and one cat, from Crete to London.
  • Small jets (seating 4-7 people) performed around half of all flights in 2020, driven by strong summer demand from families.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, PrivateFly has launched its new Jet Card membership program earlier this year; revealed a selection of fixed-rate ‘City Pairs’ offers amid rising demand for winter travel; and expanded its international team in recent months to meet the expected demand in 2021.

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