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Predictions for 2017

It’s been an action-packed 2016 for PrivateFly, from opening our first office in the USA in January; to being named the UK’s fourth-fastest-growing SME for overseas sales in May; and to reaching 1 million flight searches on our website in November, up 261% from 2013 numbers, with an average growth rate of 53% over three years.

PrivateFly is well-placed to help today’s private jet customer, who is looking for more transparency and fair pricing, all wrapped up with a rapid, high-touch service. A number of new business models are experimenting in our sector, but we continued to lead innovation this year.

We’re looking forward to doing so again in 2017. It’s going to be an exciting time for our business, with a big project in the pipeline for the first half of the year – watch this space for more details. But what can we look forward to in the wider business aviation industry in 2017? Here are some of my predictions:

Long range fliers will fly further
Next year will see a move toward more private jet customers wanting to fly further non-stop, particularly routes from the USA West Coast to Europe, and faster. So we’ll see an increase in popularity for the aircraft that can offer this.

Gulfstream’s ultra long-range G650ER grabs the headlines for its 7,500-nautical mile range, enabling it to fly non-stop from Los Angeles to Melbourne, but rival Dassault’s Falcon 8X will also become available for charter in 2017, and comes close with a range of 6,450 nautical miles.

The changing face of the private jet customer
A business jet user is now just as likely to work in scientific recruitment or produce brake fluids as they are to be in banking or a celebrity. And for leisure, it’s not just the super rich, but also the family willing to pay a premium to escape today’s congested airline experience.

More accessibility and competitive pricing is changing the face of the private jet customer and we’ll see this continue to develop in 2017.

Geopolitical uncertainty will require agility
It has been a turbulent year politically-speaking, and the business impact of a Trump presidency, Brexit and more are still to be fully felt. There is a lot of uncertainty, but what’s clear is that it will be the companies that stay agile and that can react quickly to change that will ride out the storm – both the industries that use business aviation for their travel and the private jet companies themselves.

Entry-point price will fall with single-engine turboprops set to fly
With the Civil Aviation Authority and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) set to approve these cost-effective aircraft for commercial charter in 2017, desirable turboprop aircraft such as the Pilatus PC-12 will compete with small jets to drive down the private aviation entry point price even further.

Clearer definition of types of ‘private jet’ travel
There’s much experimentation taking place with business models, and we’ve seen a lot of media attention given to shuttle or sharing services, which promise a ‘private jet’, but on fixed routes and pre-defined schedules – and charge an annual membership fee. This is a very different offering to chartering your own private aircraft on a fully-flexible, pay-as-you-go basis.

About the author
Adam Twidell is PrivateFly CEO and co-founder. After 10 years as an RAF pilot and then flying private jets himself, he saw the opportunity to use technology to transform the fragmented private jet market.

 

December 19, 2016

 

 

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