European travel chaos

While travel chaos means misery to those affected, it can often present an opportunity for the private jet charter industry – which can very quickly respond to disruption by providing evacuation flights for passengers stranded by strikes, extreme weather conditions, political unrest, airline cancellations or other unforseen events.

This week a combination of a strike by UK Border Agency staff and industrial action by Greek Air Traffic Controllers is generating disruption for passengers across Europe. There are no flights in or out of Greece for much of the day today (Wednesday) and the 48-hour UK Border Agency strike will affect many UK airport and seaports (including the channel tunnel) when it commences at 18.00 GMT, having been organised by four public sector unions in protest at public sector pension reform.

None of this disruption will be on the scale of the ash cloud crisis in 2010 or the political unrest in the Middle East earlier this year, but for a variety of reasons the last 18 months have seen unprecedented levels of private charter enquiries from customers who are stuck or stranded – many of whom are using private jet or helicopter charter for the first time. The cost-driven business model of today’s commercial airlines leaves them unable to respond quickly to the unexpected whereas the flexibility of private charter – allowing tailor-made departure times or a switch to an unaffected airfield at short notice – really comes to the fore in uncertain circumstances. For example many smaller private jet airports will not be affected by the UK Border Agency strike and border clearance can be arranged in advance of the strike for many private jet flights.

These types of evacuation flights now make up a significant proportion of private jet hire business in today’s market and obviously demand is often impossible to predict in advance. So we are always prepared to expect the unexpected. There’s certainly never a dull moment in private charter.

See more information and advice on flights affected by today’s UK Border Agency strike.

Posted: June 29th, 2011 by Adam Twidell

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