The Effect of COVID-19 on Private Jet Travel

Early last year, private jet operators were busy ferrying people back to their homes owing to the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. People stranded away from their homes were seen pooling resources so they could afford chartering private jets. Now, an increasing number of people are looking at chartering them for personal and business use alike.

What most people looked upon as unaffordable luxury is now finding an increasing number of takers. Such is the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Number Speak

Data suggests that the number of regular commercial flights in the U.S. dropped by more than 60% in the last quarter of 2020 when compared with the same period from the preceding year. For private jets, flights were down by a little over 15%. This goes to show that the private aviation sector is recovering considerably faster than the commercial sector.

Other numbers surrounding private jet travel look promising as well.
• There was a 9.5 increase in sales of private jets in the U.S. in 2020 when compared to 2019.
• The private jet charter industry is poised to grow at an annual rate of 3.1% through to 2027.
• The global private jet market is expected to grow to around $38 billion by 2030, up from less than $19 billion in 2020.

In addition, several private jet operators and brokers have reported that large businesses and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) are paying significant premiums when chartering private jets in order to minimize their exposure to the virus.

Reducing Touchpoints

A recent McKinsey & Company study shows that using private jets comes with a distinct benefit. If you take a commercial flight, you are typically exposed to around 700 touchpoints. These come in the form of checking in, going through security, using restrooms, dining, and sharing common areas.

With private jets, passengers have to face just around 20 touchpoints. This is because you are exposed to significantly fewer travelers and spend lesser time at the terminal. At some airports, you even have the luxury of getting to or getting off your jet with direct car access.

Keeping Distance

When you fly using a private jet, you know you have the entire plane to yourself. How much you wish to interact with the crew is entirely up to you. Most private jets come with fairly spacious cabins, and this gives you the ability to remain socially distanced even when onboard. This aspect can be particularly useful when chartering a jet for business purposes, with passengers who do not live in the same household.

Chartering a Private Jet to the U.S.

Most of the world’s private jet traffic originates from or terminates in the U.S. If you plan to charter a flight to the U.S. from any country, you need to follow guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As of April 1, 2021, all passengers flying into the country need to get a viral test (NAAT or antigen test) no more than three days prior to their flight. Alternatively, if you have recovered from COVID-19, you need to provide documentation of recovery.


Chartering private jets is no longer limited to the rich and famous, as has been clearly highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. This mode of transport already offered various benefits, and the ability to effectively keep distance from others while travelling appears to serve as icing on the cake.

While the cost of chartering a private jet might seem prohibitive at first, pooling recourses often works wonders. Besides, you may even get discounted rates by looking for empty leg flights.

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