Kyle Patel, founder and CEO of Palm-Beach based BitLux, shares his thoughts on the strategic role of turboprops throughout Covid-19.
Almost every industry has been impacted in one way or another due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Aviation has been arguably the most affected with thousands of grounded commercial aircraft and uncertainty building in future operations and overall job security.
Private aviation, on the other hand, has maintained a steady demand throughout the pandemic, serving as a reliable means for those left stranded in other countries because of flight cancellations, also granting flexibility for cargo operations, and providing a safe option for those looking for fewer touchpoints and decreasing the possibility of infection in the flight process.
Furthermore, private aviation is playing a key role for passengers in need of domestic travel and for global humanitarian operations. And one specific type of aircraft is serving as the workhorse in times of crisis: the reliable and cost-effective turboprop. Take the Beechcraft King Air as an example, built for extreme conditions, it can access isolated places and operate in various runways, adapting to passenger transportation, cargo or serving as an air ambulance. This flexibility is a key advantage compared to larger commercial aircraft.
A route that resembles the previous under today’s historic circumstances, is Air Greenland’s 8-hour turboprop flight from Nuuk, Greenland, and Copenhagen, Denmark. Covid-19 tests cannot be processed in Greenland, so the tests must be flown to Copenhagen. The flight is made on a Dash 8-200, with a refueling stop in Iceland. In normal conditions, there is no demand nor the operational capacity to operate a larger commercial jet plane on Nuuk airport, making turboprops essential for thousands of people, especially in times of crisis.
Powering businesses and connecting communities
Private charter company BitLux, based in Palm Beach, received a peak of 25% in bookings compared to the first semester of 2019 for private jet flights, transporting those who wanted to reduce the spread of the virus thanks to smaller terminals and fewer passengers in the cabin. Nevertheless, today, the demand for turboprops has maintained an upward trend. There are people that still need safe and reliable transportation to other cities for multiple reasons and are opting to do so in a cost-effective manner.
For shorter routes of less than 2 hours, turboprops provide the perfect balance between cost and time-efficiency. Passengers use a private terminal, escape crowded airports, get to choose who they travel with, enjoy a comfortable aircraft and almost at half the price than a light jet. Turboprops like the Pilatus PC-12 and the King Air B250 have exhibited their real value as private air workhorses and will continue to do so in the immediate future.
Worldwide and especially in developing markets where private jets are still scarce, businesses rely on turboprops. Cities with secondary airports are a great example. BitLux has ample experience connecting isolated regions, taking passengers to places where commercial aviation lacks presence, thus connecting businesses to various opportunities.
Today, private aviation is serving a dual objective staying accessible thanks to the low operational costs of turboprops and granting great flexibility for the transportation of all types of cargo. This has been the role of private aviation for decades, but in times of crisis is when its reliability can be the difference between delivering medical kits to fight a pandemic or leaving a community completely isolated.
BitLux provides various services across the air charter industry, but Executive Travel is one that is closest to heart. Whether you are flying for business or leisure, BitLux provides a top tier private jet service that actively exceeds expectations.