2017 will see longer range flights; the impact of Brexit; and the changing face of the private jet set PrivateFly marks milestone of one million annual flight searches this year.
Back in 2007 its founder was told that “no-one will ever book a private jet online”, but PrivateFly proved the critics wrong and has seen over one million flight searches on its website during 2016. The private jet booking service announces the growth milestone as it releases its industry predictions for 2017.
Adam Twidell, PrivateFly’s founder and CEO comments: “While topline demand for private jet travel has remained flat since the recession, there are fundamental shifts taking place in how our industry sells itself. 2017 may be a year of uncertainty due to the political climate, but will also see a number of exciting developments.
“Technology is driving many of these changes. Our website visitors have searched one million times this year for instant prices, up by a massive 261% from our own search numbers in 2013, and we’ve seen an average growth rate of 53% over the last three years.
“This is proof that a new era of tech-driven private jet booking is firmly here and our flight sales are following the same growth curve. 2016 was a year when we flew more customers, to more places, than ever before.”
Here, PrivateFly offers its private jet trends for 2017.
1) Long range fliers will fly further
2017 will see a move towards more private jet customers wanting to fly further non-stop, particularly routes from the US West Coast to Europe faster. So we’ll see an increase in popularity for the aircraft that can offer this.
Gulfstream’s ultra long range G650ER grabs the headlines for its 7500 nautical mile range enabling it to fly non-stop from LA to Melbourne, but rival Dassault’s Falcon 8X will also become available for charter in 2017, and comes close with a range of 6450 nautical miles.
2) The changing face of the private jet customer
A business jet user is now just as likely to work in scientific recruitment, or produce brake fluids, as they are to work in The City or the entertainment industry. And for leisure, it’s not just the super rich, but also the family willing to pay a premium to escape today’s congested airline experience.
More accessibility and competitive pricing is changing the face of the private jet customer and we’ll see this continue to develop in 2017.
3) Geopolitical uncertainty will require agility
It has been a turbulent year politically-speaking and the business impact of a Trump presidency, Brexit and more are still to be fully felt.
There is a lot of uncertainty, but what’s clear is that it will be the companies that stay agile and can react quickly to change that will be ride out the storm. Both the industries that use business aviation for their travel, and private jet companies themselves.
4) Entry-point price will fall with single-engine turboprops set to fly
With the Civil Aviation Authority and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) set to approve these cost-effective aircraft for commercial charter in 2017, desirable turboprop aircraft such as the Pilatus PC-12 will compete with small jets to drive down the private aviation entry point price even further.
5) Clearer definition of types of ‘private jet’ travel
There’s much experimentation taking place with business models, and we’ve seen a lot of media attention given to shuttle or sharing services, which promise a ‘private jet’, but on fixed routes and pre-defined schedules – and charge an annual membership fee. This is a very different offering to chartering your own private aircraft on a fully-flexible, pay-as-you-go basis.
Twidell continues: “It’s great to see innovation taking place, but a blurring of private jet and airline models can be confusing to customers. A ‘private jet’ comes with a set of customer expectations about service levels and delivery that some of these newer membership models can struggle to meet. In 2017 we’ll see customers demanding more clarity on what they’re getting.”