Air Charter Service sees ‘stronger than expected’ recovery


Aircraft charter specialist, Air Charter Service (ACS), has seen global private jet travel booking numbers reach 76% of 2019 levels for the first quarter (Q1) of 2021– exceeding its original forecast.

ACS’s original prediction of resuming to 85% of pre-pandemic levels this year looks to have been an underestimate of the return in activity levels, said the firm.

Andy Christie, group private jets director, ACS, said: “At the start of this year, we predicted that numbers would return to approximately 85% of the levels of business travel bookings that we saw during ‘normal ’times in 2019 – so, not to its full extent.

“However, looking at Q1 2021 figures, it is clear that we are actually on track to exceed this prediction. ‘Zoom fatigue ’is a real thing and clients are realising that Zoom is just not the same as face-to-face business meetings. We expect that non-essential meetings will not take place as often as they used to, but business travel will continue to improve in 2021, as soon as restrictions on quarantine are eased and vaccines distributed more widely.”

Whilst business travel bookings were at their highest in the company’s history at the start of 2020, booking numbers evidently dropped dramatically between April–June. At the height of the pandemic in April last year, booking numbers dropped to as low as 27% of ‘normal ’2019 levels but have since improved dramatically.

Christie added: “As for leisure travel, booking numbers for April 2021 have increased by 25%, when comparing with 2019 levels. As global travel restrictions are easing, this increase proves just how much people are keen to book trips abroad.”