The current economic climate may not be the best time for luxury industries to taxi along the runway, but the upward trajectory of new private jet companies suggests otherwise.
By Alexia Millett
The current economic climate may not be the best time for luxury industries to taxi along the runway, but the upward trajectory of new private jet companies suggests otherwise. With new companies such as Air Platinum Club taking off this summer it seems to those of us on terra firma that the need for luxury travel is on the up.
Indeed City Airport reports a 44% increase in the number of passengers using private jets from April-May this year, something that is by no means congruent with the downwards spiral that economic sceptics have sat back and expected since 2008.
While private air travel is by no means in freefall, there are signs that it is losing its air of exclusivity associated with its more wealthy and famous users. Interviews show the use of private jets is becoming increasingly corporate in its ambition. The new luxury travel members’ club, Air Platinum Club, for example, is aiming for a target of 60% corporate business.
And the other 40%? ‘Surely not wealthy individuals!’ the cynic cries, tightening his belt. Naturally the shift over to the more corporate side of private jet chartering dooms the days of popping off the Cote D’Azur for a long weekend at a moment’s notice.
Yet times like these are not entirely bygone, with new schemes such as fractional ownership or partnership, and membership proposals emerging. For example, Air Platinum Club is offering its membership at $400,000 per annum. VistaJet, a company flush with the luxurious Bombardier aircrafts, now offers a scheme where one can buy a certain amount of hours in different packages, the most popular ranging from fifty to a hundred a year.
In comparison, one hundred of Air Club Platinum’s hours eat a $780,000 sized chunk out of your credit card. A sharp inhale from the cynic on your shoulder. Yet for the 130 days of opulently upholstered cars and 55 days of 80ft boat lease that are thrown in with it, this seems much better value. Luxury air travel, it would appear, is not falling but flying. The sceptic can sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.