As travel corridors connecting the UK to sunshine meccas collapse, one industry is witnessing something of a boom, that being the business of private jets. Over the weekend, following the announcement late on Thursday that a two-week quarantine would be imposed on visitors returning from France, Brits scrambled to return home before restrictions came into force.
According to research carried out by the Times, one operator, PrivateFly – which charges £10,000 for flights between France and the UK – said that bookings had trebled. Equally, Air Charter Service, one of the world’s largest aircraft charter companies, which charges £8,000 to £12,000 for an eight-seater one-way between Nice and London, said that 95 percent of its bookings on Friday were made by new clients.
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In relation to the France quarantine conundrum, Giles Vickers-Jones, of the private jet company Shy Aviation, told the Times: ‘It was bonkers. On that Friday we had 30 people calling within an hour trying to get home. We even moved some people to other countries to extend their holidays — we moved two families to Italy.’
Reportedly, it’s not just this weekend. Since the pandemic hit, demand for private jets has skyrocketed as the super rich make plans for socially distanced holidays and go out of their way to avoid commercial airlines that have a higher risk of germs, a move that has been dubbed ‘germophobia’.
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It really is boom time in the land of private aviation according to the latest figures. The Times reports that since coronavirus struck, Air Charter Service has seen a 93 per cent rise in new customer inquiries; NetJets says that the number of inquiries for private flights is up 195 per cent year on year; and Shy Aviation says that bookings from new clients are up 300 per cent.
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In the US however, billionaires are reportedly using private jets to flee coronavirus hotspots. With some of the wealthiest fat cats winging it from city to city as cases grow in specific locations across the pond. Hannah Needs, PrivateFly’s head of partnerships told Globetrender.com: ‘Private jet travel is obviously more expensive than airlines but for clients prepared to spend more, it offers far greater control over your environment, both in the air and on the ground. You share the cabin only with your own group; and avoid the busy main airport, moving through a small and uncrowded private terminal instead.’
The benefits are obvious. Some of the smartest hotels, too, have got their own private jet set up to entice guests safely. Those hotels include the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in the south of France, Le Bristol in Paris and Badrutt’s Palace in St Moritz. Although, if you’re Elon Musk, you can simply board your own.
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