Is Private Aviation Getting Popular?
Ryan DeBruyne, Director of Charter Sales for the New York-based air charter solution company Mercury Jets discusses whether the sustained increase in demand is positive for the global business air ecosystem.
Record-breaking private jet demand
As January broke another record in global jet demand, it is easy to assume that trend will continue well into 2022 and beyond. Although the pandemic and the lack of commercial aviation are key
reasons that explain the surge, both aspects are far from telling the entire story behind the impressive record-breaking activity of private aviation.
The industry is in the middle of a rebranding, a change of image, although not created by operators or brokers, but by the historic moment itself. On that note, Ryan DeBruyne, Director of Charter Sales for Mercury Jets, explains that a change in perception on private jet travel is a key element that also explains the surge in demand.
“Private aviation is getting popular. And there is nothing wrong with that statement. The expectations for the industry are swiftly changing as well as the consumer behavior.
What is the main performance indicator of a service increasing in popularity?
Returning first-time flyers and sustained demand from frequent clients. The problem is not the rise in demand and popularity, which is a fact, but if the main players in the business will be capable of responding to that demand, long term”, shares DeBruyne. That is a discussion probably happening today in some war rooms.
When commercial aviation returns to shape, and it will, is it possible that private jet demand will suffer a drop in movements?
DeBruyne thinks it will for some specific routes, although this 2.5-year window has demonstrated that the new private jet market is here to stay.
“Private aviation will never be the same. The 2019 version is long gone, as the pandemic has positively reshaped the entire ecosystem. A decline in movements in some domestic routes is expected once commercial aviation resumes its activity. Nevertheless, the seed of reliability has been planted on hundreds of new customers and going back to long lines and many hours spent in the terminal will be a hard pill to swallow”, says DeBruyne.
Some challenges on the runway
As WingX recently reported, January 2022 registered a 35% increase compared to last year and 15% more activity than pre-Covid January (2019). That is impressive. That, coped with a lack of
deliveries from major manufacturers poses a short-term challenge due to a potential lack of availability in some in aircraft segments.
DeBruyne agrees. “Reliability is arguably the main added value of private aviation. If we, as an industry, because it takes everyone, cannot accommodate to our passenger’s expectations, that poses a risk, as smaller operators worldwide have witnessed. Being able to have access to thousands of aircraft worldwide, as Mercury Jets has, definitely increases the chances of adapting to our clients’ needs and expectations.”
A solid fix is without a doubt an influx of new private aircraft in the market. Textron, the leading manufacturer in mid-sized private jets, reported in early January that it delivered 167 jets in 2021, up from 132 in 2020, and expects that number to increase this year. That is great news for the entire industry, as new aircraft in the ecosystem will contribute to meet the rising demand.
Furthermore, as Zoom meetings are getting close to a burnout stage, more businesses worldwide will rely on private aviation to go places, increasing pressure on the overall supply chain. Leisure travel is also growing after more than two years of lockdown, and, again, private flight serves as the perfect partner to access any remote destination.
“A well-managed business aviation company will find ways to accommodate to the trends and deliver a consistent service. Private aviation is getting popular, in a very good sense, as more passengers are experiencing the amenities that have positioned this market at the very top, led by flexibility and comfort. Planning for increased demand during 2022 and advising clients to book ahead of time are the recipe for a successful partnership as the industry navigates history in the making regarding private jet activity”, concludes DeBruyne.