Could private jets fuel post-COVID air travel boom?

When one door closes, a jetway may open. While commercial airlines have been badly battered by COVID-19, private aviation has seen a steady influx of new clients. Surface reasons are all too obvious—fewer fellow passengers, no crowded airline terminals, more prestige—but the trend also highlights an untapped market that could benefit planners far into the future, especially if it becomes more accessible and affordable.

Here’s what you need to know about best practices, trends and planning a private jet excursion for groups.

Safety Above and Beyond

A study conducted by Austrian-based jet operator GlobeAir in March reported a 30-times lower risk of contagion when using business or private aviation. The study identified 700 touchpoints that could expose passengers on commercial flights and only 20 on private flights.

White House Travel Director Gregg Brunson-Pitts, who is CEO and founder of Advanced Aviation Team, pointed to personalized safety precautions on private aircraft. “We even offer aircraft with HEPA filters and air ionization,” he said. “If requested, crew and passengers can also get tested for COVID-19 prior to departure.”

Abbott Lab’s $5, 15-minute rapid COVID-19 test “is a game changer,” Brunson-Pitts said. “It can open up new options for group travel and assist in getting closer to a vaccine. With affordable rapid tests like this, we can create safe travel bubbles for a wider audience.”

The same CDC guidelines apply to all aviation, but many private charter companies are going above and beyond. According to Private Jet Card Comparisons, Wheels Up, which owns Delta Private Jets, treats its fleet with ClearCabin—an anti-bacterial solution used by hospitals. Fractional private jet company Flexjet launched an app for pilots to report their temperatures three times daily; and ExpertJet offers upgrade options that include a 48-hour quarantine for the flight crew for $4,000.