As with all other professional industries and areas of life in 2020, there looms many questions about what the aviation industry will look like post-COVID-19.
In the early months of the novel coronavirus spread, commercial airlines began taking various steps for improve terminal and in-flight health and safety standards.
They implemented best practices such as requiring all passengers to wear face masks aboard flights. Most airlines even blocked off the center seats to better enforce social distancing while in the air.
Passengers have still been wary to return despite all these precautions. Commercial flights in April were down at least 90 percent compared to what they were in 2019, a clear indication passengers remained uncomfortable with flying.
With what looks like a lasting fear of crowds in enclosed spaces becoming the norm, will the increased popularity of private flights continue once the pandemic settles down?
The answer is most likely yes.
New Private Flight Passengers Amid COVID-19 Concerns
According to an article from July 2020 in The New York Times, as commercial flights went down 74% year-over-year, private jet flights increased five percent.
Many people who had never considered taking a private flight before are now looking into them because they offer a safer, more controlled in-flight environment. Aircraft crew understand the increased desire for safety and are utilizing social distancing and PPE to maintain passenger comfort. Charter jet and fleet operators are taking added cleaning steps to assuage the COVID-19 concerns of passengers.
Some families are beginning to book private charter jets to ensure that masks are worn by all members of the crew and passengers alike, allowing them to rest easy knowing their entire family is safe.
Private jets and charters have substantially lower occupancy numbers, ranging from a handful of passengers to 60 people (varying with the size and model of the aircraft).
Passengers also don’t have to go through the hassle or close proximity of large groups in airport security lines or crowded terminals. Private airlines can offer “curb to tail” service, meaning passengers board the plane directly.
Commercial passengers average 270 person-to-person interactions throughout their airport experience, whereas private flight passengers have less than 20 interactions. That averages out to about a 30 times lower risk of possible exposure to COVID-19. These numbers are very attractive to those with compromised immune systems and other wary travelers.
Multiple private charter companies are reporting large numbers of first-time flyers and increases of inquiries compared to recent years.
Another factor which may be appealing to many travelers is the ability of private flights to land in smaller regional airports and avoid major hubs. Passengers can often get closer to their ultimate destination and avoid the hassles and human contact associated with landing at a big international airport.
One of the factors that often contributes to the reduced travel time of private flights are the lack of stops along the way. Approximately 80% of private flights are under two hours because they are nonstop – no layovers tacking on extra time.
On-Demand, Jet Memberships and Fractional Ownership
In the world of private flights there are also a variety of payment options that may be attractive to travelers with the means to afford them. It’s possible there will be an increase in fractional aircraft ownership in the coming months.
Most fractional ownership agreements require a commitment of three to five years, so cost efficiencies and the value proposition of fractional ownership relies upon a family or business’s frequency of air travel.
Most first-time private flyers will likely investigate on-demand charters before committing to something as long-term as fractional ownership. The middle ground between on-demand and a fractional ownership are jet cards and private jet memberships, which give passengers flexible blocks of flight hours.
It Might Be Time to Upgrade Your Cabin’s Interior with Rosen Aviation
With the probable rise of private flights in 2021 and beyond, it may be time to invest in innovative cabin entertainment systems and touch screen cabin displays in preparation for an evolving aviation industry.
Rosen Aviation is a company built on developing and adapting in-flight technology to fit the changing times. Our team of developers, designers, engineers and testers excel at partnering with other aviation professionals to create technological solutions to meet the ever-changing needs of passengers.
Call us at 888-668-4955 or contact us online to find out how we can work together.