As 2021 draws to a close, all eyes are on the key themes for 2022. As a global aircraft charter and provider with 27 offices around the world, operating more than 23,000 flights per year, Air Charter Service (ACS) has a unique and in-depth insight into the travel patterns and habits of the high-net-worth traveller.
Following the boom in private travel – ACS has seen a 49% increase in enquiries since pre-pandemic in 2019 – Andy Christie, Group Private Jets Director at ACS is delighted to provide some key trends that the team is seeing both in 2021 and into 2022, based on their intimate knowledge and frequent interaction with this community. These include:
Ultra-Luxe Pet Travel
Research shows that 3.2 million UK households have adopted pets since the start of the pandemic, and the subsequent rise in luxury pet travel is guaranteed to follow in 2022. Having seen a significant rise in the demand for flying pets with them on passenger aircraft – including trans-Atlantic ride-sharing for owners’ of cats and dogs – ACS is a specialist at catering for animal travel, and predicts that luxury experiences, both in the UK and overseas, for owners and their beloved pets will only grow in number as we move into 2022.
2022 Private Jet Destinations
As travel to USA and Asia recovers more slowly, ACS reported that the most popular destinations in 2021 for UK travellers, based on the airports travelled to by private jet were: Nice and Cannes, France; Faro, Portugal; Palma, Mallorca; Ibiza and Greek islands. Factoring in the continued popularity of short haul travel and the recent boom in the yachting industry, ACS predicts that these destinations will continue to be popular in 2022, along with port towns Olbia and Ajaccio, Sardinia, and Antibes and Monaco.
The Net-Zero Carbon Movement
The world is growing increasingly eco-conscious and with that, ACS predicts that the new wave of customers coming into private aviation will drive an increased uptake in carbon offsetting. It is becoming clearer that unlike many other industries, the technology to make aviation carbon neutral isn’t available yet, however, there are industries where the technology to offset carbon exists, but the funds do not. Carbon credit systems are a way of funding investment in green projects, which would otherwise not receive the investment they need. As a result, offsetting more than 100% of carbon from private aviation flights will be an option taken up by more customers, either directly through charter providers or through their own schemes.
ACS launched their own carbon offsetting programme in February 2020 to enable customers to offset the carbon emissions from their flights by adding a 0.5% fee to their next flight, a contribution that is invested – without any commission or margin charged – by ACS into buying carbon credits from carbon offset schemes certified by the United Nations and Gold Standard.
Ultra-luxury Lifestyle Concierge Services
The pandemic has caused a monumental shift in the priorities of the ultra-wealthy traveller, with factors such as privacy, safety and reliability taking precedence over cost. As sectors outside of hospitality (e.g. private jet charter) saw a subsequent boom in demand, ACS noted that travellers were looking for more than just a flight – with customers saying they prefer one point of contact for the whole journey, including hotel and experience bookings – and now, businesses that will stand out are those that not only looked after the flight, but provide luxury concierge services for the client that ensure they feel protected and well catered for throughout the process. Next year, ACS predicts that businesses outside of hospitality will continue to evolve and build lifestyle management teams to suit the ‘above and beyond’ expectation of the UHNW traveller and developing specialities outside of their usual remit.
About Air Charter Service
ACS is an award-winning aircraft charter company providing private jet, commercial airliner and cargo aircraft charters around the world. Founded in the basement of Chairman Chris Leach’s home with CEO Justin Bowman in 1990, today ACS arranges over 23,000 charter flights per year and employs more than 500 staff across a global network of 27 offices spanning all six major continents. In addition to the company’s flight-only operations, the Travel & Concierge team creates bespoke private jet packages covering all aspects of a luxury holiday, from private jet flights to exclusive accommodation and unique travel experiences.
About Andy Christie
Andy Christie has been instrumental in the growth of both ACS’s Private Charter division and the North American offices. Andy began his career at ACS in 2004 in the London Passenger department, before moving to New York to head up the US Private Jet Department in 2008, and was later promoted to President of North America. During this time, Andy secured certification for ACS as an approved charter service by the US Government and opened two more offices in both Houston and LA respectively, before returning to the UK in 2014 to lead all private aircraft operations worldwide. Andy has also been responsible for managing the ACS European offices, Global Jet Card Department and The Travel Division. Throughout his time with ACS, Andy has worked with numerous Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies and has developed important relationships with HNWI and C-Level executives over the last 15 years. He has extensive charter experience in several key fields including medical, sports and entertainment and has been welcomed as a guest panellist at a number of industry events in both the US and Europe.