Air Partner plc - 24 Jan 2018
As the memory of the Sun’s warmth fades in Northern Europe, and the collective gloom settles in, those that can will seek to recharge in the mountains or fly south for welcome respite by the pool. It’s a similar story every year and we’ve watched increasing growth in private jet traffic on these routes over the last 5 years.
Last season in particular saw an 11% increase in chartered private jet activity in Europe in January 2017 vs the previous year. And this year were expecting an even greater spike in demand in Europe for both for the sun and the snow.
Last year witnessed a devastating hurricane season ravage many parts the Caribbean. Some major winter sun tourist destinations have suffered greatly and capacity will fall. But that may not be the only problem. There’s another challenge in the perception of that damage in the mindset of the potential traveller. Many have been put off by the shocking images that were broadcast across all media and it will take time to rebuild the tourist confidence even in some areas lucky enough to have escaped the worst of these summer storms. The old maxim: ‘Perception is reality’ has always held sway in the fickle world of international tourism.
So if some travellers overlook the Caribbean this year where will they go? Many might choose the Middle East, Africa or further on to Asia, of course. Others will look to more familiar haunts, closer to home, in Southern Europe. But there’s a snag with that. Whether you’re chasing fresh white powder or azure blue waters, you’ll know the weather in Europe doesn’t come with a cast iron guarantee in winter. Neither the sun nor the snow announces its intentions early in Europe. It’s not surprising therefore that many will choose to wait it out. They’ll hold off and let the weather make the first move. Then they can fly wherever the conditions suit their clothes! So, whilst we know the demand will be intense this year, we don’t expect to feel it yet.
The waiting game is not without its dangers. Scheduled services are quickly overwhelmed when the snow starts to fall or the sun breaks through in resort and it is then you’ll learn they’re much quicker to cancel flights than they are to add extra capacity. Thankfully, private aviation is infinitely more flexible.
Last minute logistical challenges are our bread and butter. Private jets and helicopter transfers can make even the most remote location more convenient and accessible. Using quieter regional airports and private terminals brings you closer to the slopes (or the beach) and helps you leap-frog the queues and jams.
This time last year, smaller regional airports, poorly serviced by the regular carriers, such Chambery, Cannes, Salzburg and Innsbruck saw an increase in private jet activity between 13% and 20% against the previous year and this season we expect the numbers of these savvy fliers to increase significantly.
Our advice this winter is this; by all means wait and see what the weather does before you commit, but know that the last minute rush will be even more intense this year and available landing slots at popular airports like Chambery will run out, especially on the popular weekends, so once you’ve made up your mind to go, call Air Partner without delay! We’re here 24/7 and we’d be delighted to assist you make this winter your best ever.