Private aviation has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak. Although not to the extent of commercial flight, the executive market has registered an increased drop in bookings and operations throughout the pandemic. The need to maximize resources and diversify its services has been a recent trend and, in many cases, it has been that diversification (repatriation and humanitarian flights, for instance), that has kept the market running.
Furthermore, a shift in consumer perception and behavior has led passengers to fly for safety and reliability reasons instead of business or pleasure, which has resulted in an increase of first-time fliers, but a drop in the overall pool of passengers. The previous has been a global trend impacting most private aviation providers. But there is hope, supported by facts, for the entire industry. Especially for those hubs with great connectivity and infrastructure, as South Florida.
South Florida has established into what is likely the largest network of private airports in the world: if you drive along Interstate 95 for (aerial) distance of 75 miles, you will pass 10 terminals: KTMB, KTNT, KMIA, KOPF, KHWO, KFLL, KFXE, KPMP, KBCT, KLNA, KPBI. That interconnectivity will be key on the initial post-pandemic stages, where passengers will rely on short-distance flights for safe transportation.
Monarch Air Group, a Fort Lauderdale-based air charter solution company, projects that South Florida’s strategic location, proximity to the Caribbean and Latin America, and established routes to New York, will play in favor of a swift market recovery. The sun, beaches, and nightlife, once the pandemic is over, doesn’t hurt either.
Private jet facts and figures
In fact, within the top 20 executive aircraft departure airports in the U.S., five are based in South Florida. Third place overall is Opa-Locka Executive with more than 100,000 yearly operations, and fifth place is Palm Beach International, with almost 45,000 movements. Also, in the list are Naples, Miami, and Boca Raton airports.
To make the case even stronger, the top two private aviation routes in the country are Teterboro (New York) to Opa-Locka (Miami) and Opa-Locka to Teterboro. In sixth place comes Teterboro to Palm Beach. Although Teterboro is probably the world’s most coveted private aviation airport, which also has a good connection to Europe, South Florida’s demand diversity (local and international), short and long-range, is the perfect foundation to regain pre-pandemic shape.
Europe also has important private aviation hubs like Le Bourget in Paris, with almost 60,000 movements a year, and Luton in London, with a whopping 140,000 operations. Impressive numbers, but far from the 225,000 movements totaled by the top 5 executive airports in South Florida.
In essence, private aviation will continue playing a key role for necessary transportation during the outbreak, granting a safe and reliable means of transportation for all passengers, allowing them to control their travel experience to a large extent and minimizing contact to the virus.
Established in 2006, Monarch Air Group is a leading provider of on-demand private jet charter, aircraft management and long-term aircraft lease. Among Monarch’s customers are Fortune 500 corporations, leading entrepreneurs, Government agencies and world-leading NGOs.