The global pandemic has changed the way we travel. Concerns regarding the hygiene of commercial aircraft and how crowded terminals may play a role in the transmission of the virus have taken the aviation industry by storm. Today, six months after the initial reports of coronavirus cases in the western hemisphere, there are enough trends to project how the aviation industry will behave in a post-pandemic environment. Private air charter solutions company Monarch Air Group weighs in.
Change of perception for private aviation
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the majority of the population still perceived private aviation as a luxurious means of transportation reserved only for the wealthy. With a change in travel restrictions and growing safety concerns, this segment has started to serve a new pool of travelers seeking a reliable and secure way to fly, far away from the concerns of a commercial flight. It is possible that not all of them will continue flying private when they find out commercial aviation is safe once again (whenever that might be in the future), although some of them might continue flying at least on an occasional basis. This change in perception only benefits the industry as a whole.
Turboprops have demonstrated their value
Linked to the previous topic, turboprops, as the most cost-effective option for a private flight, has been the go-to option for most new travelers in this segment. Especially for shorter routes of less than 3 hours, single and twin-engine turboprops serve as the perfect transition from commercial aviation. Passengers get to use a private terminal, they escape the crowded airports, they get to choose who they travel with, enjoy a comfortable aircraft and almost at half the price than a small jet. Turboprops like the Pilatus PC12N and the King Air 350i have demonstrated their real value as private air workhorses and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
Diversification as a safety net
The flexibility of private aviation has been a coveted asset worth paying for. The possibility to depart from almost any airport and to choose from thousands of different aircraft at any moment is second to none. Nevertheless, the global pandemic has demonstrated that private aviation also provides flexibility to the global travel industry, and not only to the private passenger, having served governments with repatriation flights, humanitarian missions, and cargo charters. This diversification has also allowed the different players in the industry to maintain the number of operations and flight hours, proving that the flexibility of this market goes way beyond luxury.
Carbon footprint discussion
Private aviation has been publicly scrutinized due to its carbon footprint compared to commercial aviation, even though leading private air companies have implemented programs to offset the carbon emission. While the amount of fuel burnt by a private jet is a lot less than a commercial aircraft, and therefore CO2 emitted is also a lot lower, private planes carry fewer people, sometimes even one per route, meaning they’re considerably less efficient, and the personal carbon footprint of passengers who choose to travel this way is much higher. The previous discussion has come to a standstill amidst the coronavirus pandemic (and probably will continue this way), because the main concern today is maximizing safety (avoid infection), while maintaining high levels of efficiency, something that commercial aviation cannot guarantee in the near future.
Full recovery of the market
While diversification is a great asset, the core demand of this industry is generated by business trips, sporting events, weddings, and overall leisure. Although Monarch Air Group has reported a sustainable growth in demand during the last two months, until the aforementioned events don’t regain full shape, it is hard to determine when full recovery of the market will occur, because they all depend on local restrictions.
Private aviation has passed the test imposed by COVID-19 by demonstrating its diverse pool of services, its safety and cost-efficiency, demystifying what so many commercial passengers thought before experiencing this service, positioning itself as a more approachable and accessible means of transportation. It is safe to say that private aviation will have a higher and more diverse demand than before the outbreak, fueled by new clients that have recognized that flexibility, safety, dependability, and superior customer service doesn’t necessarily mean a higher price.
Established in 2006, Monarch Air Group is a leading provider of on-demand private jet charter, aircraft management, and long-term aircraft lease. Among Monarch’s customers are Fortune 500 corporations, leading entrepreneurs, Government agencies, and world-leading NGO’s.