Private jets, an extravagance favored by the rich and famous, are becoming increasingly popular among Londoners. Last year, private jet usage increased by 4 percent across Europe, with London registering more than 79,000 trips.
The business aviation industry is in an economic upturn with numerous options now available on the market. Those hoping to own a jet can consider fractional ownership or jet shares that enable individuals to buy equity in a specific aircraft, which ensures constant crews and surroundings. Those looking to charter can check out last-minute bookings via an app that cost up to 90 percent less.
Companies like Flex Air also specialize in ACMI lease programs that allow owners to lease their aircraft temporarily for three months to more than a year, thereby maximizing their aircraft by leasing it while it’s not in use to cover upkeep payments.
In London, eighty percent of private jet customers are business travelers according to Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, chief executive of Luxaviation UK.
“In terms of the Square Mile, we fly to and from the airports that are nearest to the area, so that’s Luton, Stansted, London Biggin Hill, Farnborough, and London City Airport. One of the most often used facilities for both leisure and business in Luton, and there’s a very well-established facility there. Many people use London City airport, although depending on the nature of the trip London City’s a lot more expensive than going from Luton, so that’s a big difference on the pricing aside from the aircraft that you can have coming in,” Margetson-Rushmore says.
Flyers can buy jet cards with a pre-set number of hours, though regular clients just call companies like Flex Air Charters and say, “I want to go from A to B’. In such a scenario, they’ll be given a price that might be dealt with later, because the company gives credit to known customers,” he adds.
According to Andy Patsalides from London Biggin Hill Airport, a dedicated business aviation airport, opening up London to private jet users has helped increase investment.
“More long-haul commuters from the US and Asia are choosing our airport as the gateway to the capital – especially as our six-minute helicopter shuttle offers the quickest transfer to the city center. This is all good news for London’s economy, opening up to private jet users can help increase investment for businesses here. After all, private aviation is all about convenience, control, security, and speed – It is an invaluable business tool that helps connect international companies and allows those traveling to London to take advantage of their time spent here,” Patsalides says.