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Private jet company Elit’Avia is looking forward to the return of corporate clients, after reporting earlier this month that 2020 was the second busiest year in its 15-year history.
“As air travel gradually returns to normal, we expect an increase in corporate clients,” Michel Coulomb, Elit’Avia CEO told Corporate Jet Investor. “Commercial airlines have been forced to cancel many routes. But business travellers will still need to travel to numerous destinations point-to-point, or as efficiently as possible. We expect private aviation to provide a solution where commercial routes may have been scaled back or completely discontinued.”
Initial fears that Covid-19 would exact a very negative impact on business aviation have proved misplaced. “Despite the massive human tragedy of the pandemic, the industry is doing quite well,” said Coulomb. “For example, early on, there was concern about aircraft owners experiencing financial difficulty and selling their aircraft assets in response. However, in many instances, the effect of the pandemic has made private aircraft more valuable than ever.”
Over the past year, the ability to fly non-stop to your destination of choice while hand-picking your travel companions has become much more important, he added. Business aviation operators can rapidly adapt to changes in departure times, routes and airports, thanks to the contribution of highly professional crews and support teams. “This type of flexibility is simply impossible in commercial aviation and represents a significant benefit for our clients,” said Coulomb. “Because the convenience and safety benefits are greater than ever, we expect to see many former commercial business class travellers migrate to private aviation. Covid-19 has changed the way business aircraft are perceived – from a luxury to a necessity.”
Meanwhile, the company reported earlier this month that new charter clients helped the business achieve 6,615 flight hours last year – the company’s second busiest year since its foundation in 2006. Last year, Elit’Avia launched a specialised cargo transportation service. “We have successfully used long range and large business jets – for example, Bombardier Globals and Bombardier Challengers – to transport much smaller quantities of specialised emergency medical cargo, including facemasks and personal protective equipment [PPE],” said Coulomb.