Daily Management Review

Flight Suspension, Travel Bans Due To Coronavirus In China Raising Demand For Private Jets


Flight Suspension, Travel Bans Due To Coronavirus In China Raising Demand For Private Jets
While there is a growing demand for private jets by wealthy passengers trapped in China to try and get out, the travel bans imposed by the Chinese government and a nervous crew have prevented the demand from turning into good business. The rapid spread of the coronavirus and the suspension of flights to, from and within China as well in Hong Kong has given rise to this demand for private jets.
A number of the top Asian airlines like Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd and Singapore Airlines Ltd have drastically reduced the number of flights they operate to and from China because of the novel coronavirus outbreak which has so far killed more than 1,300 people in China alone.
Between January 23 and February 11, there has been a 34 per cent drop in the number of flights scheduled to operate to, from and within China, said the united Kingdom based consultancy Ascend by Cirium.
These suspensions of flights to and from China by airlines have forced the stranded people in China who want to get out, to depend only on government-led evacuations. Reports have said that there are private jet charters who are carrying smaller groups of people outside of China and are promising lower risks of exposure to the virus, for those people who can afford it.
However reports also said that there is only a limited pool of private jet operators willing to fly to China in comparison to the situation that had prevailed in the country during the outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2003. This is because of the concerns for safety of the crews of these private jets, travel bans on Chinese citizens and strict quarantine requirements.
“This time the operators and countries have put lots of restrictions on the usage of private jets to the countries affected by this virus,” said Logan Ravishkansar, chief executive of Singapore-based charter operator MyJet Asia Pte Ltd. “Business leaders are scared and confused to go in and out of Asia. Flight crews are afraid to fly as well.”
China operations have been suspended by private jet companies VistaJet and NetJets, the companies said. The coronavirus also forced aircraft manufacturers Gulfstream and Bombardier Inc to cancel the unveiling and marketing of jets during the Singapore Airshow held this week.
“While we are receiving an uptick in inquiries, it has not amounted to more flights,” said Patrick Gallagher, president sales and marketing for Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s NetJets.
According to a report published by Reuters, PrivateFly, a global booking service for charter flights, was approached by a South American government to arrange for four flights to bring out its people from the Chinese city Wuhan, which is at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. However the request might not be possible to be fulfilled, said the company’s chief executive Adam Twidell.
“Movement during the flight is kept to a minimum and there is very little interaction between anyone onboard to reduce any chance of infection,” Twidell said.
Her company had received a “significant increase of private flight charter requests,” from Asia, said Jackie Wu, president of Hong Kong-based JetSolution Aviation Group.