While business travel is still the biggest driver for private jets, the leisure client is an increasingly important target for the private aviation industry.

At this time of year, we see a greater proportion of our European business generated from leisure travel. The summer season in Europe has begun and those using private jets over the next three months will include second home owners flying to their holiday homes; families on luxury holidays; special occasion users eg for weddings and honeymoons; visitors to cultural or sports events; and group travel. Pet owners are also a growing sub-sector of the private jet market.

Business or Leisure

But it’s not just a seasonal uplift – the balance overall is shifting, so that non-business use of private jets (‘Private Aviation’) is starting to grow its share of overall flight movements from business users (‘Business Aviation’). Here’s how the balance has shifted over the last five years here at PrivateFly:

Market split of business aviation and private aviation

PrivateFly market split Business vs Private Aviation
Year % Business aviation % Private aviation
2008 91 9
2009 87 13
2010 83 17
2011 81 19
2012 80 20
2013 (Jan- Apr) 78 22

Of course, it’s not always a 100% distinction. We track the flight’s primary purpose, but we do see some blurring. Today’s senior executive is rarely offline and some trips will include elements of both business and leisure.

The global recession put corporate usage of private jets under the spotlight so, while charter has gained share of business aviation from fractional ownership models (due to its greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness), growth of business flights has slowed down overall.

At the same time, the charter industry has been evolving its approach to the private user over the last five years. Adoption of new technology; greater competition and transparency; and new business models – including more effective distribution of empty sectors – have all had a big impact.

Now that they can more easily see what it should cost and how to go about booking, private aviation is becoming more attractive. Increased frustration with the scheduled airline experience can make the benefits compelling.Looking for inspiration for a leisure trip by private jet? Visit our Lifestyle pages for ideas and pricing. For a specific quote or advice, contact our Operations team (24 hours) on +44 1747 642 777.