The impacts of the global pandemic since 2020 were initially thought to have a negative effect on the global air travel industry. Although this was the case with commercial airlines, private air mobility and charter services have seen the services, and passengers, adapt positively to the changes.
With exciting technological innovations in private air travel and the aircraft that are being produced, new routes, clients seeking added comfort and experiences, there is a brave new world of business air travel on the horizon.
We look at how the private charter travel industry is on the rise, and why we think the industry will flourish.
1. Private Asia Pacific Air Travel on the Rise
The Asian Sky Fleet Report YE Report 2020 wrote that a 1.8% growth in the Asia-Pacific business jet fleet in 2020 was a remarkable achievement that caught many people off guard.
The Asia-Pacific business jet fleet increased to 1,232 aircraft at end of 2020, and long-range jets continued to be the most popular of all the size categories in the region with a 32% market share. Large size jets came next, with a market share of 22%.
Bombardier is the most popular OEM business jet in the Asia-Pacific region in 2020. (The Global 6000 was the most popular Bombardier model), while Gulfstream (especially the G550) and Textron came in second and third.
China was again by far the leader in the APAC in terms of operational private business jets, followed by Australia, India and then Hong Kong. These four countries accounted for 66% of Asia Pacific’s total operational business jet fleet.
Mainland China - 342 operational business jets
Australia - 211
India - 137
Hong Kong - 122
Importantly, all of the positive data aside, operators across the region saw an increase in the number of enquiries they are seeing from new customers on private air travel and increased interest from first-time private jet buyers.
Private aviation is expected to continue being in high demand and the Asia-Pacific business jet fleet is predicted to increase through 2021. There is a taste for private air travel and we think this will only continue to rise.
2. Clients Feel Safer with Private Air Travel
As commercial flights were cancelled throughout 2020 and into 2021, not only in the Asia-Pacific but all over the world, passengers sought the need for safe air travel and HNWIs proved to be a strong driver for business jet demand.
Flying privately is one of the only ways to guarantee that a flight will take place, providing relative safety, convenience and flexibility to cater to a clients’ schedule.
Private air travellers also sought to avoid large queues caused by testing requirements and completing passenger locator forms at airport terminals for commercial flights.
YUGO CEO Jim Baldy says: “We believe it is a great time to fly private to break with the constraints inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic, For example, there are around 700 points of contact during a commercial flight. This is reduced to approximately 30 during a private flight. For the transportation of our guests, their families, friends and business partners, travelling private (provides) additional safety.”
3. Business Travel is Bullish about Private Air Mobility
In The Future of Business Travel report, more than 200 high-level company executives across the United States., EMEA and APAC expressed that travel in their professional lives was important. More than a third said international business development and product launches took a hit due to a lack of in-person presence during the pandemic.
The demand for business travel is rising, with 81% saying business travel will be more important than ever to driving success. Sixty per cent of the respondents even plan to significantly increase in-person meetings by flying to potential clients.
Asia was the first epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak and currently looks to be the region that will emerge from the pandemic last, which is also impacting the travel prospects.
According to Our World in Data, less than a quarter of people in Asia have received at least one dose of a vaccine which lags behind Europe and the US reported CNBC. This means commercial air travel will take longer to fully recover, while private air travel taps into a growing customer base.
Allianz also said in a new report that business aviation resiliency during the pandemic - with many companies chartering an aircraft for the first time. Private air travel is no longer just a luxury but is seen as inevitable and needed to stay competitive in the corporate world.
4. Innovation in Air Mobility
If you look at the innovation in the air industry and private air mobility, there is much to be excited about in the not too distant future. From the rise of electric aircraft, eVTOL and supersonic jets - all in relatively advanced stages of production- there is a new era coming in how we all will travel in the next decade.
Data and internet speeds will continue to increase even aboard flights - this is always high on the demand list for private business travel as clients need connectivity in their ‘flying offices’ and the aircraft will all support IoT functionality.
Artificial Intelligence will enrich the value of data through optimisation and machine learning - AI algorithms will deliver vital information to the crew, maintenance teams and flight departments to further streamline flight operations in the future.
Aircraft manufacturers are also constantly seeking to improve safety & comfort, while pilot controlled digital HUDS add safety for flying the aircraft. Passengers, meanwhile, can already make use of digital displays and interactive passenger cabins.
Meanwhile, some of the most luxurious aircraft in the world are owned by billionaires who have gone the extra mile to throw in all the imaginable comforts of private air travel.
5. Private Air Charter Adaptability
Private Air charters have had to improve and tighten up on a wide range of services and put the needs of their customers first in a highly competitive market, for business and leisure travel.
Air charter companies have looked to expand routes, upgrade aircraft and even allow customers to buy private flying hours in advance with a minimum cancellation notice.
At Yugo, we have recently released our newest charter routes in Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and the Philippines. With a target of charter flights to over 150 destinations in Asia, Yugo offers a fleet of more than 50 aircraft in our network.
Yugo Commercial Manager Camille Ngo said: "Our mission is to provide the possibility for our customers to fly private anywhere, anytime, by helicopters or private jets.”
Like all industries, private charter aviation had to adjust and be more flexible over the past 18 months. Our most popular services in the Asian region include on-demand helicopter flights, airport transfers, helicopter tours, private islands transfers, cross border medical flights, in-country emergency evacuations and cross border business jets flights.
Yugo has access to a range of jets and helicopters including those from the aviation industry’s best aircraft manufacturers such as Gulfstream, Bombardier, Cessna Textron Aviation and Dassault Falcon private jets as well as Bell, Airbus, Leonardo or Robinson helicopters.
6. Demand for Short Haul Experiences
There has been and will continue to be an increase of sightseeing flights in tourism destinations and these flight experiences could lead to an uptick in risk for smaller leisure aircraft, including helicopters suggested by a new report from aviation insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS).
High-net-worth individuals (HNWI) continue to seek ways to reach destinations with the least risk of infection and in the maximum amount of comfort, whether it’s 90 minutes flying over mountain peaks and island paradises, or setting up the ideal romantic skyward experience.
You can see some of these unique private flight experiences offers from Yugo in Cambodia, the Philippines and in Fiji.
7. New Routes On The Rise
Over 1,400 new air routes are scheduled for 2021 which is more than double those added in 2016. The Asia Pacific is adding over 500 of these and regional airports are a big beneficiary.
The Chinese domestic market alone will see over 200 new routes added and the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism estimated there will be more than four billion trips made across China in 2021, a market worth just over USD$500 billion!
With 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China, there is a surge in demand for local tourism and private chartered flights to fly across the huge landmass.
Private aviation is providing solutions, and the necessary resiliency, which is resulting in the industry attracting new clients who could not use commercial flights to meet their schedule - private air travel has, as a result, become a welcome business necessity and a vital means of escapism.
Yugo has more exciting news in the upcoming months offering bespoke aviation luxury private travel, and a range of tailored experiences to complement trips throughout the Asian region as we tap into this brave new world.