By Staff Correspondent
Even though declining demand for private jets after the pandemic waned and many high-net-worth individuals (HNIs) returned to commercial flights, top corporations and wealthy individuals in India continue to purchase business jets or sign timeshare deals with aircraft operators.
Apco Infratech, a Lucknow-based infrastructure company, recently registered an Embraer Legacy 650 in India and a Legacy 500 abroad for the company and its promoters. Other companies such as Reliance Group, Welspun, and Bajaj Auto have also been reported to operate and manage private jets.
Meanwhile, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited has entered into a timeshare agreement with business jet operator JetSetGo to facilitate economic and prompt flight operations on demand. This arrangement allows the company’s promoters to use private jets for official visits without the hassle of managing the aircraft when not in use.
Although demand for business jets has declined, the recent spike in queries for purchasing or timesharing a business jet is substantial. The demand is primarily driven by several corporates and wealthy individuals opting for private jets for their domestic flying needs and their medium- and long-haul international flying requirements.
Private jets were boosted during the pandemic in India, with about 70% of private jet customers being new to the industry. According to Santosh Sharma, founder of Bookmyjet, the value of hiring a private jet was understood, and people were more willing to utilise their money than save it, and the recent growth in industries such as infrastructure and power has resulted in people from these industries buying aircraft.
According to data made available by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the movement of private jets and helicopters in India fell 17.1% during the ten months to January. This contrasts with the 37% increase in the same period a year ago. Private jet usage is measured regarding aircraft movement, with one take-off and landing equaling two aircraft movements.
But even as the demand for private jets in India has declined since the pandemic, corporates and wealthy individuals continue to purchase or timeshare private jets for their business needs, particularly for medium-and long-haul international flights. Although the recent growth in industries such as infrastructure and power has resulted in people from these industries buying aircraft, the movement of private jets and helicopters in India has fallen significantly in recent months.
The Business Of Biz-jets Booming: Industry Expert Shares
To learn more about the factors leading to the surge in Biz-jet bookings, IADB spoke to Rajan Mehra, Chief Executive Officer of Club One Air and former India Head of Qatar Airways.
The Club One Air CEO presented a comprehensive assessment to IADB:
The pandemic has given a booster shot to business aviation operations in India. There is a surge both in the purchase of biz-jets and travel by them. A new set of travellers emerged during the pandemic who saw the difference in safety, hygiene, time saved and convenience in flying a private jet. A fairly large percentage of them did not switch back to commercial.
During COVID, families began to bond, and a new trend we are seeing is Corporates taking their families along with them on business trips. So a family of 4-5 or more was paying the same fare on the business jet, and the gap between flying commercial and private was reduced!
The General Aviation terminal in New Delhi has made a substantial difference in the flying experience of passengers who could now avoid the massive queues at the terminal, which they would have to face even in Business/ First Class.
Many more clients who were using private jets only for domestic travel began flying privately even to international destinations, especially nearby points like Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore and Maldives. All this has led to a very healthy increase in general aviation business of around 30-40%.