Julia Timms, Group Marketing Director - 16 Jun 2017
As we enter the busy summer period, even more people than usual are relying on smooth and timely air travel to get them to their destinations on time and hassle-free – be it for business or leisure. However, already this year, thousands of passengers have had their travel plans thrown into complete disarray, caused by a variety of reasons.
As security and industry action threats loom ever larger, it is more important than ever to plan for the unexpected when organising future trips. The reality is, we never know when – and to what degree – scheduled services are going to be adversely affected: today, for example, a number of people flying out of Heathrow are facing holidays without their luggage due to a breakdown in the airport's baggage system. Back in March, there was widespread flight disruption across Europe when approximately 1,500 flights were cancelled due to air traffic control strike action in France – something that we, as providers of private jet charter, can respond to more effectively than scheduled airlines.
The last bank holiday saw total chaos at Heathrow and Gatwick airports, as an IT failure severely impacted hundreds of flights and around 75,000 passengers, many of whom were families looking to get away for the half-term holiday. At Air Partner, we saw enquiries for our private jet services soar 76% compared to a typical bank holiday weekend, as clients sought to find alternative solutions: flights ranged from getting a FTSE 100 CEO from Geneva to London so that he could attend business-critical meetings, to reuniting a family in Nice when the children were stranded in London after their flight was cancelled.
During such times of travel uncertainty, private jet charter gets passengers where they need to be, when they need to be there. By flying privately with Air Partner, clients have the flexibility and security of flying to their own schedule to a wide choice of airfields, which is invaluable when there is disturbance on scheduled service routes. Many clients choose our unique and highly successful private jet card programme, JetCard, which buys flying time in the client's choice of six private jet categories, with guaranteed availability. In response to recent events, we have seen a number of clients renew their memberships in order to safeguard against any unforeseen issues over the busy summer months.
Businesses too can hugely benefit from our JetCard programme, as – unlike other providers – we don't limit the number of cards that can be linked to a corporate JetCard account. Roadshow itineraries are tight enough as it is without being severely delayed or grounded, so why take the risk? Earlier this year both the UK and US imposed a laptop ban on flights originating from certain countries, which the US government is considering implementing more widely. Onboard a private flight, this is currently not an issue - so business doesn't have to stop at the airport.
For reliability, flexibility and peace of mind, private air charter is the clear choice, especially at busy times of the year. No matter where they are in the world, or whatever the time, we make sure clients' aviation needs are met, which is why so many turn to us when the unexpected happens - and plan ahead with us to mitigate against it.