How Will COVID-19 Affect Business Jet Charter Demand?

business jets in china
Credit: Hugo Hu/Getty Images

Ask the Editors: The Aviation Week Network invites our readers to submit questions to our editors and analysts. We’ll answer them, and if we can’t we’ll reach out to our wide network of experts for advice. 

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, what will be the effect on business jet charter demand in the world and the Asia-Pacific region in particular? Will fear of pandemics increase demand for charter flights from high-worth individuals and top corporate personnel to avoid normal commercial flights?

Peter Harbison, chairman emeritus of Aviation Week’s CAPA - Centre for Aviation, responds:  

In the short and medium term, demand for charter operations will be considerably increased. 

For many months to come, international travel is going to be complex. The combination of national health/immigration controls and very weak economic conditions will significantly constrain airline operations between countries. Frequencies will be lower, and many former routes will not be served at all, meaning circuitous, time-consuming and costly options. Air fares will generally be higher on long-haul routes, as fewer airlines will be operating. Those features alone will stimulate the demand for charter flights, where traditional networks cannot be relied on. 

Intra-East-Asian commercial services look likely to recover earlier than most, as they have been earlier in the cycle. 

For business travel specifically, companies will be well aware of their corporate duty to take care not only of their expensive employees but also probably of many others: Insurance against COVID-19 will be expensive, even if it is available.