Lessons From a Historic Rise in Private Jet Demand

Oct. 26, 2022
Icarus Jet President, Kevin Singh, shares his thoughts on how the market has adapted to numerous trends during the past three years to stay airborne.
Icarus Jet
Kevin Singh, Presiden, Icarus Jet
Kevin Singh, Presiden, Icarus Jet

Private jet demand worldwide surged to historic levels since the pandemic struck. While demand is plateauing worldwide today, during the past three years the industry has rapidly evolved to meet not just the increasing number of bookings, which poses a logistical challenge, but also by adapting to new consumer behavior and expectations. That aspect of the new normal of private aviation is “crucial”, says Kevin Singh, Icarus Jet president.

He adds, “How companies navigate the intangibles of renewed consumer expectations will determine their success rate after this historic climb.”

While a recent report from WingX revealed that private jet demand has started to peak in some regions, with activity in the U.S. market up 5% in September 2022 compared to last year and 18% ahead the same period in 2019. In contrast, Europe has seen a steady decline during the past few months, with a 13% decrease versus early October 2021.

Upcoming Challenges for the Industry

While it was a matter of time before demand returned to normal figures, the truth is the historic growth in movements has reshaped the market forever. With availability issues throughout the surge in some aircraft segments, the main question is how can the industry be proactive and account to future increases in demand? Many challenges remain.

With roughly the same number of jets in operation from late 2021 in the market, manufacturers are feeling the pressure to deliver more aircraft into the private jet ecosystem, although reality has demonstrated that’s easier said than done; delivery times are not meeting the demand requirements, and a lag should be expected in the foreseeable future.  

Another challenge for the industry has been the surge of first-time flyers making the switch from commercial, seeking greater flexibility and safety. Although that has added pressure to the system, their expected choice for on-demand charter, flexible in nature, has not exposed the industry’s availability issue entirely. Membership programs have a different story to tell. With many relying on a fixed type of aircraft and yearly hours, the so-called jet card programs have navigated to a transitory on-demand charter scheme for their clients.  

“Adapting to the circumstances while being completely transparent with each customer, new or long-standing, is paramount. Availability limitations will remain a constant in the market if demand continues high, therefore, it is up to us to accommodate and promise achievable solutions. Diversification of services is a key ingredient to ease the pressure created by demand; those able to provide a wider variety of solutions will be best positioned to thrive”, states Singh. 

Diversifying to Meet Rising Demand 

Having the ability to adapt and focus on specific revenue streams is a rare privilege in any industry. Especially with the mounting challenges triggered by aircraft availability, private aviation providers who can diversify their services and adapt to the circumstances are better positioned to meet customer expectations. Icarus Jet can deliver various solutions and focus on those the market has established as mission-critical, which today are on-demand charter and trip support services. 

“We’ve seen a rise in owner flights since early 2022, leading to increased trip support demand for all aircraft segments. Also, with a slow influx of new jets into the ecosystem and a thin used jet market, pressure is escalating to accommodate clients’ needs regarding on-demand bookings. Having a single-source solution for those requirements increases our ability to meet our customers’ evolving expectations”, suggests Singh. 

These past three years have demonstrated that the industry has been resilient enough to meet the surge in demand while also establishing private aviation as a valuable option for many new clients. As demand stabilizes during the upcoming months, there will be more aircraft in the market and more overall knowledge of how to effectively handle future impactful events. “The heavy lifting has already been accomplished and clear skies are on the horizon”, notes Singh. 

With senior executives actively scheduling face-to-face meetings with their globally scattered teams, and the recovery of the conferences and events industry, private aviation will continue to be the go-to option for business travel. The question remains whether it can maintain the high levels of leisure demand with the expected restoration of commercial frequencies. Meanwhile, Icarus Jet only worries about what they can control.  

Singh concludes, “We focus on our ability to deliver highly personalized solutions in every business unit. While we cannot control the dynamic trends in the industry, we can control how we prepare to meet our customer’s needs, no matter what kind of requests come through our door, whether large group travel, one-off charter, or trip support. A unique experience is expected, and our commitment is to consistently meet that standard." 

Kevin Singh is President of Icarus Jet