Leisure travel is up for NetJets customers. Especially domestically, as international borders in Europe remain close, said Patrick Gallagher, President, Sales & Marketing of NetJets. Gallagher said fliers are staying closer to home, with Montana and Florida as top destinations.
To meet the demand from new customers – mainly through referrals – NetJets offers demonstration flights to onboard potential charter or jet card members. Gallagher is confident that those who enter private aviation now will be long term customers.
“We have seen a continued uptick in the leisure travel that we are doing, and maybe some corporate travel. Coming into this, it was split 60/40, leisure to business travel. Today we’re operating at probably 85% of pre-pandemic levels overall, with business travel having not returned at all.”
The good news on the business side is that people are holding onto their NetJets shares, says Gallagher. “Corporate customers could give notice and sell back their shares. In nearly every case, they are telling us that once they start flying for business, they are going to have more people using the share for business.”
Gallagher said the situation “couldn’t be further from 2008”, as people had no access to capital and selling shares back. “Now, markets are doing quite well so people are not feeling financially strapped and have a need because of commercial schedules and fear of coronavirus are still going to persist for some time.”
The business travel that NetJets is seeing is “out and back in nature”, said Gallagher. “People are not going a couple of hours on the ground and back, sometimes meeting at an FBO where it is business travel that they have just got to get done.”
NetJets hopes to finish 2021 at its 2019 levels of activity: “This year we will take 10 more airplanes, making the total 2020 global deliveries to 31, which is about half of what it would have been if I told you in January. And our forecast for next year is 40-plus airplanes and we see that continuing over the next 10 years or more. We think we have got a nice long runway of an increase in new business.”