Having delivered a strong first quarter of 2023, with a 30% growth over the same period in 2022, demand for air charter may have passed its peak, according to Hunt & Palmer PLC. However, the diversity of trips its broker teams are arranging in business aviation is as broad as anything the UK-headquartered private aviation charter brokerage has seen in four decades of trading.
The range of charter aircraft available today mirrors the diversity of the missions they are serving, as more executive jets and helicopters come on to air operator certificates.
“Demand for private travel to popular holiday destinations, including Italy, Croatia and Greece, will remain a mainstay well into the summer,” said Sandy Boyer, Sales Manager, Executive Aviation.
Although the larger operators tend to have usage reserved for regular pre-paid (Jet card) clients, their large aircraft fleets are often positioned at the right airport, and Hunt & Palmer uses them regularly for one-way trips. Mix and matching with commercial travel has become a trend, too, reflecting that although airline services have returned, they are not at the frequency offered pre-pandemic.
Recent activity includes facilitating small groups of corporates from the energy and metals trading sectors from Europe to destinations in North and West Africa.
There has also been a re-emergence of boutique travel management companies calling on Hunt & Partner’s expertise to deliver bespoke itineraries. The entertainment industry, especially film studios, is booking trips to Europe and the USA regularly. Sister company Premier Aviation is busy handling several high-profile band tours.
Financial roadshow charters trending in the USA
In the USA, there are indications that the private placement investment market is headed for a good year. It’s not sports teams dominating Hunt & Palmer’s USA activity through the summer – but roadshows for banks – all around the USA and into Canada, with a few into Europe too.
Using an executive jet with tailor-made multi-city itineraries shaves off a considerable amount of time. The most popular aircraft for such trips are the large cabin category classic Gulfstreams and the Dassault Falcon 2000.
“I haven’t seen a year like it for a long time,” notes Hunt & Palmer’s Wendi Matthews-Ortiz, whose USA-based team is quoting for finance clients into June and beyond. Their trips are generally three to four days. “That would typically be two weeks by commercial airline,” she observed.
More good news. The Group is seeing more aircraft becoming available for charter on both sides of the Atlantic. The situation is certainly better than six months ago, and business aviation operators are accepting a longer lead time on charters, too, added Sandy Boyer. Hunt & Palmer also notes increasing requests for carbon offsetting flights.
Users of commercial airlines tend to be the biggest users of on-demand aviation too, regularly combining long-haul commercial flying with short-haul charters for inter-Europe trips, said Sandy Boyer. “The Embraer Phenom 300 is the most popular jet in the lighter jet category we charter. The Pilatus PC-24, with its London City Airport capability too, is also in increasing demand.”
Hunt & Palmer and Premier Aviation will be at EBACE, Europe’s biggest gathering for business aviation, in Geneva next week. (May 22 to 25).
Julie Black, Manager – Executive Aviation, joins a panel on Wednesday, May 24 at 11 am to discuss the changing landscape of charter, moderated by WINGX Managing Director Richard Koe on the UAS International Trip Support Stand – A29.
Julie, who is also Deputy Chair of The Air Charter Association, is also speaking in Theatre Y29 on Tuesday, May 23 at 2.30 pm on the topic ‘Yay or Nay? Standardising Aircraft Charter Agreements,’ moderated by Catherine Buchanan, Business Development Director at Stack.aero.
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