Business aviation is used as an efficiency tool across a large number of industries, but the sports industry is one that stands out as a key driver for flight demand.
This demand comes from sports teams and competitors; supporters (travelling as individuals or in organised groups); celebrities and high-net worth individuals; sports agents; corporates and sponsors.
The benefits of private jet travel are particularly well-suited to sports industry travel. Here’s why:
Flexibility: Clients can travel at their own schedule – e.g. to arrive just before the event and depart immediately afterwards. At PrivateFly, we’ll fly footballers straight after a match to meet another commitment in a tight time-frame, or to finalise a high-profile signing in the transfer window.
Proximity: In Europe alone, private jets use ten times more airports than scheduled airlines, so aircraft can often depart or land at smaller local airports, which can be closer to the destination and offer faster turnarounds and less-congested ground connections. This saves hours waiting at the airport, and allows shorter ground transfers.
Group travel: Large groups of supporters, clubs or sports teams can charter larger jets or private airliners – which means everyone travels together in the most efficient way. The charter cost is for the whole aircraft no matter how many people are travelling, so the cost per-head can be more cost-effective than many people realise.
Privacy & security: High-profile individuals in the sports industry often need to travel under tighter security and avoid attention. Corporate groups attending sports events also find the privacy useful, using the aircraft for meetings en-route.
Which sports events drive peaks in demand?
Sports events drive a significant level of private charter flights year-round, but we see noticeable peaks in demand around some sporting events, with the closest airports to venues seeing huge increases in their usual flight volumes.
Super Bowl Final
The Super Bowl final in the USA is the annual sports event that sees the world’s biggest gathering of private jets.
Around 2,500 additional non-commercial aircraft movements took place around this year’s final in February, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
This brought increased private jet traffic to both San Francisco and San Jose area this year, including the closest airport Mineta San Jose International Airport.
Grand Prix events – including Monaco & Silverstone
Many global Grand Prix events see their local airports experience their busiest days of the year. Nice and Cannes airports are always fairly busy with private jet flights, but see a 105% increase on their usual volumes during the Monaco Grand Prix (110 private jets versus a daily average of 53).
This usually overlaps with the Cannes Film Festival, drawing a particularly glamorous crowd.
And for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone – taking place this weekend – the closest airport is Cranfield. For most of the year, it’s a relatively underused runway. But this weekend it will be the world’s busiest heliport and see private jet movements rise by 450%.
Major football championships – including the Euros 2016
Soccer is one of the biggest spectator sports in the world, with a number of major events creating high demand for private jet travel, particularly within Europe.
The UEFA Euros 2016 in France are currently generating high flight traffic demand for airports across France. Aircraft availability, parking and slots are now very limited for the final few days of the tournament.
Particularly at airports in Lyon and Marseille, which played host for the semi-finals this week and where aircraft were having to position in and out from other nearby airports, due to lack of aircraft parking. Paris Le Bourget will be very busy indeed this weekend for the final.
Another event that sees notable peaks in demand is the annual Champions League Final. In addition to pre-planned travel, the knockout tournament format of these events can lead to last-minute requests from supporters in the surviving teams, eager to fly in to support their team at short notice and unable to get there any other way – something we are seeing this week particularly from Welsh football fans.
Contact our 24-hour Flight Team for last minute flights to the Euros 2016 on +44 1747 642 777.
The Olympic Games is the biggest sports event in the world, a four-yearly pinnacle of sporting achievement. And airports serving the host city always seeing a huge surge in private flight activity.
The flexibility of private charter makes it popular for the transport of competitors; heads of state; VIPs; corporates and sponsors; and cargo.
This summer in Rio, a number of airports have been busy preparing. Rio de Janerio International Airport (also known as Galeão) will be the major focus of attention from private charter flights.
The airport has undergone a major development project in preparation since it was privatised two years ago – with more aircraft parking; new management tools; and a new FBO.
The other Rio area airport that will be open for business aviation is Santos Dumont Airport. Currently it is proposed that both Galeão and Santos Dumont will open to business aviation flights during nighttime hours only, for security reasons and to ease traffic congestion.
Other airports further from the city, such as Cabo Frio airport (162km away) and Sorocaba Airport near São Paulo, will also be busy as slots fill up in Rio, and will be used as aircraft parking and bases for crews.
Long range flights from Europe and the USA into Rio will see additional demand, but we are also expecting to see a particular increase in regional private charter flights, from those flying domestically within Brazil.
Private jet availability during major sports events
Business aviation allows short notice bookings and availability. Being integrated with over 7,000 accredited aircraft globally, at PrivateFly we can pinpoint available aircraft immediately – at the best possible price – and have our clients airborne within the hour if required.
But for major sporting events, extra restrictions and regulations are often put in place by the local airports and aviation authorities. And aircraft availability can become limited in the lead up to the event, leading to higher prices.
We always advise our clients to book earlier than usual if possible when travelling to sports events, to be able to secure their ideal landing and parking slots.
For advice and pricing on private charter to any sports event, call our expert Flight Team (24 hrs) +44 (0)1747 642 777 or contact us.