Sports Industry To Boost Air Charter In 2021, Broker Says

Sports travel will boost the air charter industry in 2021, air charter broker Chapman Freeborn says.
Credit: Chapman Freeborn

Sports travel is shaping up to be the fastest-growing sector in the air charter industry for 2021 because of a packed calendar of scheduled and rescheduled high-profile events, according to Chapman Freeborn, an air charter broker.

A number of major events have been postponed from 2020 to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Summer Olympics, the Ryder Cup golf competition, and the Euro 2020 and Copa America soccer tournaments. That means adding them to an already busy calendar that includes an Ashes cricket tour, British Lions rugby tour, the T20 Cricket World Cup and an array of events including the Super Bowl, grand slam tennis and golf tournaments, the NBA Finals, Champions League and Premier League soccer and various other golf tournaments.

The air charter industry is hopeful the teams, sponsors and fans—once they’re allowed back inside stadiums—will choose to charter rather than travel on the airlines to have more control over timing, destination and health risks, the company says. The pandemic has led passengers to be more aware of the health risks in traveling.

To that end, Chapman Freeborn has appointed its first group director of sports, Nick Lamb, a former English cricketer. He took on the role in August. 

“When you look at the schedule, 2021 has the potential to be a fantastic year for sport and also for our industry,” Lamb said. “The benefit for teams, and for sports organizations, federations and corporate sponsors, is that chartering a flight enables people to stay together in their bubble without the need for public interaction at the air terminal or on the plane.”

It is also possible to personalize health and safety measures on board private flights, such as leaving empty seats between passengers and carrying extra personal protective equipment, he said. 

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.