The unseen value of the business aviation sector
For several decades, private jets have been perceived as assets of high achievement. In comparison to the 1980s, where the values and benefits of this resource were uniquely accessed by and reserved for society’s elite, today’s business aviation market paints a different picture. People from all walks of life, such as retail, SME, and business management, including low and high-level executives, are all part of a customer portfolio that frequent private flights and their unique services. Today, private travel services are accessible to almost everyone.
Following the 2008 financial crisis, the global economy has experienced steady and impressive growth, along with global financial markets recording new highs and increased wealth creation. While having experienced a downturn due to the pandemic, the market momentum is estimated to continue on course to break the previously set highs of 2020. As a result, the private aviation industry is experiencing an influx of newly affluent clients who are capable of justifying the associated expenses in exchange for reduced travelling times and exceptional on-board service.
Business aviation is a specialised travel solution enabling people to meet face-to-face during time-critical situations. This mode of transport allows passengers to control their flight and on-ground schedules while gaining access to three times more European travel destinations when compared to regular commercial airlines. The business aviation model significantly contributes to all national, state, regional, and local-level economies, providing underserved areas with one-time ad-hoc business service solutions.
In comparison to 2019, the global demand for business aviation services was down by just 1% in 2020, according to WingX's weekly Global Market Tracker. In contrast, regularly scheduled passenger flights were down by 45% over the same period. This statistic further exhibits the resilience of the private aviation sector in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector’s impressive recovery and operational figures can be attributed to its less contact-based travel options.
A typical journey on a flight operated by a scheduled airline involves close contact with check-in agents, security personnel, border control agents, and boarding agents. In contrast, business aviation has significantly fewer face-to-face interactions during pre- and post-flight periods. In a report released by GlobeAir, a limited number of pre- and post-boarding contacts, together with a lower number of passengers being transported, lowers the probability of exposure to the coronavirus by a multiple of 3, when compared to regular aviation service. This has resulted in a surge of new customers utilising business aviation options as a safer and better-controlled mode of transportation for private journeys.
The benefits of private aviation are also acclaimed by the medical sector, through a professional approach to readily available access to lifesaving and time-sensitive air transportation. This includes fire, rescue, and medical evacuation services. The communities of St. Helena island – surrounded by thousands of miles of the South Atlantic Ocean – celebrate their access to critical medical transport and supply freight which they receive in a matter of hours, in comparison to days or even months.
In a TV documentary regarding the importance of the island’s airport, a resident on St. Helena Island, Patrice Yol, whose son had Respiratory Distress Syndrome and was on a medevac flight from St. Helena Island to Cape Town had this to say. “If it wasn’t for the airport, then I really doubt that Eli would have made it. It would have been a long wait for the RMS to come down, like another month, and then a week’s travel to Cape Town. He probably wouldn’t have made it, waiting for a month for the ship to actually get there. So no, without the airport, I don’t think Eli would have survived.” In addition to providing economic value to underserved communities, business aviation is a crucial tool for doctors in their attempts to save the lives of patients with time-sensitive requests.
Built on the strong stereotype of opulence and splurge, the business aviation sector can easily be perceived, at first glance, as a premium with benefits reserved only for the wealthy. However, reality presents a different image.
In the words of Vytis Zalimas, the CEO of Jet Maintenance Solutions, “Having a strong effect on the economic development of underserviced communities, and significantly stimulating local, state, and national economies, private aviation benefits a wide range of people. It is imperative to highlight the sector’s contribution during medevac, rescue, and other evacuation flights for supporting communities and individuals in desperate times of need. As a leading MRO provider for business aviation, JetMS strongly believes in the case presented by the private aviation sector. Our team practices precision, extra care, and attention to detail in every project we tackle, to ensure the smooth, safe and timely operation of the private segment of the industry aiding the global economy and people in need.”
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