LuxuryThe pandemic is bringing tailwind for private jet travel, and VistaJet's CCO Ian Moore shares how the operator is working with agents to tap the demand.

Private jets become a new norm in luxury travel

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An internal research indicated that 79% of UHNWIs (Ultra High Net Worth Individuals) would be more inclined to travel by private jet than before. 71% of bookings since June 2020 are from passengers who have not regularly used business aviation solutions before.
An internal research indicated that 79% of UHNWIs (Ultra High Net Worth Individuals) would be more inclined to travel by private jet than before. 71% of bookings since June 2020 are from passengers who have not regularly used business aviation solutions before. Photo Credit: VistaJet

Travel Weekly Asia: Does VistaJet see more opportunities for collaboration and partnership with travel agents in the days ahead?

Moore: Through VistaJet Private World, a global programme for private travel, VistaJet has liaised with more than 400 partners, including some of the world’s finest brands, curating signature benefits, services, and experiences globally.

Our travel operator partners play a key role in orchestrating exclusive experiences and ensuring smooth on-ground journeys for members globally. By understanding the customers — listening to their needs, preferences, hobbies, and passion point — we work with partners to curate an experience that is unique, also managing every detail to ensure our passengers enjoy a tailored and unparalleled service.

VistaJet flies customers around on a global fleet of more than 70 aircraft and covers 96% of the world. We continue to work closely with travel operator partners worldwide, and expanding our partnerships programme — Private World’s global network in 2021.

TWA: How is VistaJet working with travel agents to get people to travel again at the luxury end?

Moore: Sentiment around travel is shifting. Families and businesses are willing to travel again, even before a Covid-19 vaccine is available at scale. Exposure to potential contaminants decreases significantly when flying private, with approximately 20 touchpoints on average ― compared to as many as 700 when flying commercial ― according to an industry study.

The Future of Private Travel, our internal research in association with high-net-worth insight consultants Barton, surveyed 650 leaders in the luxury hospitality industry also revealed that strategic industry partnerships — linking businesses across different segments of the luxury travel, hospitality and leisure sector — are widely seen as a key component to further the recovery from the impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some 94.4% of these leaders have taken or are planning action to innovate their customer service and experience protocols, and 62.3% of businesses have already introduced new offerings, products or services, with increased digital services and more personalised concierge offerings being particularly in-demand.

As businesses look ahead, it is clear that a majority of industry leaders are looking to collaborative partnerships outside of their core business, to help mitigate the negative impact of travel restrictions and ensure their clients continue to experience unparalleled end-to-end services throughout their journey.

On our end, VistaJet’s Private World leverages industry relationships to provide customers with a bespoke travel experience, from pre-flight to flight and accommodation, paired with preferred services already lined up at the destination — from yachts to hotels, private islands and retreats.

One of VistaJet's short term focus is on families looking for exclusive-use escapes, restorative immersions in nature and health-enhancing adventures around the world.
One of VistaJet's short term focus is on families looking for exclusive-use escapes, restorative immersions in nature and health-enhancing adventures around the world.

TWA: How has demand from private jets been like since Covid? What kind of paperwork or travel arrangements can travel agents provide for their clients to travel on private aviation?

Moore:
Research shows that 79% of UHNWIs (Ultra High Net Worth Individuals) would be more inclined to travel by private jet than before, and this is reflected in VistaJet’s new requests. As of June 2020, 71% are from passengers who have not regularly used business aviation solutions before.

We are receiving dozens of requests every month from travel agencies, compared to a handful last year. The pandemic has demonstrated the clear demand for business aviation as a safer and more reliable alternative to commercial flying.

Despite the difficulties Covid has brought to the aviation industry, VistaJet welcomed a 29% jump in new members joining last year, and the On Demand services also recorded substantial bookings growth at 15% year-on-year, thanks to an innovative and resilient business model.

We have also seen a surge of 49% in corporate interest globally since the start of the pandemic. In response to the needs of corporate executives to keep business running, VistaJet launched the Dynamic Corporate Membership in October 2020, offering a full suite of flexible travel solutions and streamlined logistics for businesses around the world, with minimum commitment.

Every flight is unique — because different paperwork is required based on respective country’s travel requirements, plus restrictions change on a regular basis. VistaJet’s team of more than 1,000 aviation experts representing 60 nationalities are on standby 24/7, to monitor the latest development of Covid-19 and carefully manoeuvre through the complications of each flight request.

VistaJet has been offering complimentary empty leg flights for governments and medical transportation to help ensure that those with critical travel requirements are able to keep moving.
VistaJet has been offering complimentary empty leg flights for governments and medical transportation to help ensure that those with critical travel requirements are able to keep moving.

TWA: Within Asia, what kind of private jet demand is VistaJet seeing? Who are the people or markets requesting for private jets since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic?

Moore: During 2020, VistaJet saw a global increase of 29% in new subscription memberships year-on-year, with Asia accounting for 18%. The region also saw a 108% increase in new members year-on-year.

In Asia, strong demand was recorded for flights in and out of China, which accounted for 28% of flights across the Asian region, while India accounted for 16% of total flights in Asia.

The pandemic has demonstrated the clear demand for business aviation as a safer and more reliable alternative to commercial flying. Supporting passengers and their businesses with a global infrastructure during 2021 will be paramount as customers are increasingly requiring maximum safety and guaranteed access to travel services across the globe.

VistaJet’s commitment to guaranteeing 24/7 availability and flexibility to fliers anywhere, anytime via its floating fleet has been a core differentiator throughout the pandemic and clearly drove customers’ preference.

In the short term, our focus is on repatriation flights for governments and transporting essential medical supplies and experts for medical organisations. One example was in April 2020, when we organised a complimentary flight on behalf of the New Zealand government to repatriate citizens from Phnom Penh to Auckland.

Another focus is on families looking for exclusive-use escapes, restorative immersions in nature and health-enhancing adventures around the world. They can tap on VistaJet Private World, offering members complete privacy and safety at all stages of their journey through a fully integrated travel platform with leading partners around the globe.


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