As we roll into the first week of 2016, we’re looking forward to what’s to come this year, for both PrivateFly and for the business aviation industry in general.
2015 was an eventful year. There were some challenging market conditions, particularly in Europe, due to unrest in Russia, Turkey and Eastern Europe. But there was also an increase in private jet customers booking online, with newer business models making it much easier than ever before.
At PrivateFly, we continued to lead innovation in 2015, seeing significant year-on-year growth in both the US and Europe. And we look forward to doing the same thing again this year.
Looking forward, here are some of the industry trends and developments we’re expecting to see this year.
1. BIZAV WILL CONTINUE TO IMPROVE IN THE US
The US, the biggest and most established business aviation market, had a modest 1.3% growth in 2015 and we’re expecting to see this upswing continue in 2016. Business is booming in the US and that means more private jet demand. While currently we’re seeing a lot of internal private jet flights, we think 2016 will see more private jet customers flying internationally too – including to Cuba.
In addition to more flights, both domestic and international, we also expect to see an increase in customers upgrading to a larger category aircraft. This will ultimately increase the average spend per hour.
2. NEW BUSINESS MODELS WILL OPEN UP THE MARKET
In the past two to three years, we’ve seen an influx of new business models in the private jet sector. Some are succeeding while others have disappeared, and we feel this trend is set to continue in 2016.
There is a huge amount of change going on in our industry at the moment. New technology is making it easier for the customer to compare prices and book, and a new era of transparency and accessibility is now firmly in place in the charter market.
This year, we’ll see growth in models aimed at the entry-level private jet customer in particular, such as air taxi-type operators offering shared private flights on fixed routes. This is opening up the customer base for the whole charter industry, so it’s great to see this innovation taking place.
3. 24-HOUR ACCESS INDUSTRY
While we operate 24/7 at PrivateFly, aircraft are not able to land or take off at all airports throughout the night. Some are open 24 hours for private jets, but others are not, largely due to noise concerns over residential areas.
But with industry recovery set to continue in 2016, there will be more pressure on runway slots. And with private aviation so much about ease and flexibility, more and more customers are looking to fly at night or very early in the morning.
With this in mind, we predict to see a number of airports reviewing their opening hours in 2016. Careful planning on routings and giving priority to quieter, new aircraft means there is room to negotiate, as we’ve seen in other airports, such as London Biggin Hill.
4. SPORTS EVENTS WILL PUT PRIVATE JETS UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT – AND UNDER PRESSURE
Major sporting events always see a demand increase for private aviation. And 2016 is a big year for sports – with Super Bowl 50, the Olympic Games in Brazil and the UEFA European Championships in soccer.
Events like these are always a great opportunity for business aviation to showcase our flexibility. But can equally put the infrastructure under a lot of pressure, with huge numbers of aircraft looking to move in and out of a specific area over a short period of time.
While our industry excels at being reactive and providing short notice flights, our authorities are not always effective at forward-planning and organization. Business aviation is often left out of the plans for major events and can be left working things out at a late stage.
For the Super Bowl, the FAA will be meeting with airports and aircraft operators in the area in mid-January to discuss special conditions that will need to be put in place for the event. This late meeting makes it difficult for private jet customers to plan their trip in advance, as the times they would like to fly in and out may be altered after the FAA meeting.
5. MORE REGULATIONS AS THE MARKET MATURES
Another sign of the private jet industry maturing has been a more defined regulatory framework for service providers, which we think we’ll see more of in 2016.
Following the first wave this summer, we’ll see a rush of other US FBOs granted an IS-BAH, the new quality standard for private jet FBOs.
And more private jet brokers will seek ARGUS certification, a benchmark of industry best practice. This is something we hold at PrivateFly, giving both customers and aircraft operators confidence in our high operational standards.
We predict we’ll see a marked increase in the participation in these programs in 2016, and the launch of others.
Wherever and whenever you’re flying in 2016, our 24/7 Flight Team is ready and waiting to help you. Contact us or call (866) 726-1222.