Business aviation is used as an efficiency tool across a large number of industries, but some sectors are particularly closely aligned. As I’ve mentioned before, property is one of them (see Property and Private Jets).
The sport industry is another. It drives a significant level of demand year-round, and generates noticeable peaks – both locally and nationally – around key sporting events.
That demand comes from sports teams and individual competitors; supporters (especially for group travel); celebrities and high-net worth individuals; sports agents; corporates and sponsors.
What makes business aviation such a good fit for the sports industry?
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 sometimes 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 by surprisingly cost-effective.
- Privacy: 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?
Currently the Winter Olympics in Sochi are creating more than 200 daily private jet movements at Sochi Airport – 70 times higher than usually seen there.
And the Super Bowl finals in the USA sees the world’s biggest gathering of private jets. Over 1,200 extra private jets were moving in and out of New York’s private jet airports earlier this month, for the Super Bowl Final weekend.
The busiest weekend of the year in Europe’s business aviation calendar is still to come – at the end of May.
This is the time of year when day-to-day business usage is still high (before the summer break) and coincides with a number of sports events taking place.
Friday 24 May 2013 was the busiest day of last year, with over 6,000 flights taking place.
That weekend sports fans were truly spoilt for choice. There was the UEFA Champions League final in London; the Roland Garros French Open tennis; and the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix in the Cote D’Azur (the culmination of the Cannes Film Festival also takes place over that same weekend, so it’s a particularly busy time at Nice Cote D’Azur and Cannes airports).
Champions League football finals always drive peak demand for private jets in Europe. In 2012, Munich airport saw 121 private jets arrive for the 2012 final on 19 May between Bayern Munich and Chelsea, versus 35 aircraft on an average day (+235%).
Many global Grand Prix events see local airports experience their busiest days of the year. Nice and Cannes airports see a 105% increase on their usual volumes during the Monaco Grand Prix (110 private jets versus a daily average of 53). For the British GP at Silverstone, the closest airport is Cranfield, with the option of helicopter transfer direct to the track. On the race day in July, it’s the world’s busiest heliport and its private jet movements rise by 450%.
Private jet availability during major sports events
Business aviation allows short notice bookings and availability, even for major sporting events. 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.
But for major sporting events, extra restrictions and regulations can sometimes be put in place by the local airports and aviation authorities. We always advise our clients to book earlier than usual if possible, to be able to secure their ideal landing and parking slots.
For advice on business aviation for sports travel and events, call our expert team 24-hours on +44 (0)1747 642 777 or contact us