A lifestyle story: Portland, OR. Private jet rentals in the Portland area are becoming more popular during the pandemic as people look for alternatives to commercial flying. Not everyone owns their own jet, or “P.J.,” as they’re called. As a result, according to Forbes Magazine, the number of jet rentals across the country is taking off. A spokeswoman for NetJets, a private-jet rental company, says inquiries for flights shot up from the previous year, and have only continued to grow as the pandemic has stretched on. During the pandemic, calls to NetJets have been up over 60% from the previous year.
Part of the boom in private jet travel could also the lower price as jet fuel has hit rock bottom. Additionally, the CARES act suspended a 7.5% federal excise tax or FET on air transportation through January 2021. For consumers, this means private jet travel is about 15% – 20% less than normal.
EvoJets is one of the companies which offers service in the Portland area. It flies out of PDX, Hillsboro, Troutdale, and the downtown Portland heliport which is located in northwest Portland, not far from the Steel Bridge. Popular destinations are Vail, New York, Aspen, Bend, and many other locations.
Some trips are more affordable, with a cost per seat just slightly more than some first-class tickets.
Breaking down the different ways to jet:
|Approximate starting cost||What it actually means|
|Approximately $3 million upfront (depending on the jet, of course) plus additional maintenance, staff, and regulation costs||Full ownership gives you total control over your jet setting experience. You have access to the jet at any time, typically use the same staff and pilot, and can even rent your jet to other travelers as an investment income stream.|
|$500,000 upfront plus fixed management and maintenance fees||You’re essentially paying for a share of a plane, rather than an entire jet, not unlike a timeshare. How much equity you purchase in a specific jet often dictates the number of hours you can fly in it.|
|Depending on the trip and the type of jet, costs hover between $4,000 (shorter trip, midsize jet) to $13,000 (longer trip, large jet)||Chartering means paying as you go, and essentially means booking a one-off every time you jet.|
Here a list of Private jet companies compiled by Departures Magazine:
Forbes magazine explored the phenomenon of more private jet trips and came up with the following conclusions:
“We’ve seen a massive surge in inbound request and new customer acquisition,” in the last 90 days, said Magellan Jets’ President, Anthony Tivnan. The private jet and charter company reported a 117% increase in customer acquisition for June.
“There are about 8.2 million households in the US with a net worth of two million or more. The majority of them weren’t flying private before,” said Tivnan. “We are seeing a huge shift in that narrative now it is a health and safety concern.”
With some commercial carriers are refusing to close off middle seats, many people who would typically fly passenger airlines are just not interested. In addition, flying private gives customers more control over their entire trip – from avoiding TSA lines to waiting in line for check-in. Chartered aircraft are estimated to have 30 times lower risk for Covid-19, according to GlobeAir.
Monarch Air Group, a private jet charter provider, saw an increase in demand based on the total number of booked flights, which rose 125 percent year-over-year; compared to June 2019. And 52% of their secured charter contracts from June 2020 were from new business.
“We used to see New York to the Hamptons, now we see Florida to the Hamptons,” said David Gitman, President of Monarch Air Group. “People who wouldn’t normally charter are chartering.”
Magellan also reported an increase in flights to second-home destinations like Jackson Hole, Boseman, Aspen, the Carolinas or Savannah.
“Last year we would have the vast majority of trips going to Italy or southern France. We just don’t see that,” said Gitman. “We see a lot of people traveling to their second home…These are people who would usually travel commercial. So either there is no flight or they are in a risk category.”
As commercial airlines limit their flights, private is also becoming an easier way to get between locations. “It is not just getting on a direct three-hour flight anymore, now you are talking about a whole day of travel. Two or three congested airports,” said Gitman.
“When you think of the airlines, it is a bigger issue than just the experience on the flight,” said Gitman. “Right now it’s impossible to practice social distancing on a plane. The airlines have to figure that out.”