By Staff Correspondent
As India emerges from the pandemic, wealthy Indians are trading in their private jets for commercial flights. During the pandemic, the rich sought refuge in private jets to minimise their risk of catching the virus. However, industry data shows that regular commercial flights are less risky. As a result, private jet usage has dropped by 17.1% over the ten months leading up to January, according to the Airports Authority of India. While the shift can be attributed to the wealthy’s return to commercial flying, analysts expect demand for private jets to remain robust in the long term.
Rajesh Bali, who is the Managing Director of the Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA), stated that people considered it valuable to spend additional money on business jets during the COVID-19 period. However, as the pandemic has improved, most people have opted for commercial flying, although there is an emerging trend towards increasing demand for charter flights, which is expected to continue. Therefore, Rajesh believes that the demand for business jets will grow at a different rate than during the COVID-19 era but will increase in the long run.
Some insiders believe that businesses purchased jets during the pandemic, while others suggest buyers from smaller cities in India have boosted sales. Despite declining private jet usage, the scheduled airline industry is experiencing record numbers of passengers, even amid high airfares, hotel tariffs, and inflation. In February, India’s average daily domestic air passenger numbers rose to over 420,000, up from 410,000 in December.
While the business jet industry has struggled, operators remain optimistic about the future. With upcoming state elections in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, they anticipate a surge in demand for private jet travel. Kanika Tekriwal, the CEO and founder of JetSetGo, a company that provides business jet services, stated that they anticipate a substantial increase in demand for private jet travel during the elections. She expressed optimism regarding the need for their services this year, including during the state elections.