Adding to the list of COVID-19-related shortages, CNBC is reporting that there aren’t enough business jets to go around. The network says a trifecta of factors, including an uptick in private travel by COVID-conscious wealthy travelers, an uptick in suddenly wealthy people able to afford private air travel and a shortage of both used and new aircraft, is fueling “private jet rage.”
Sentient Jet told the network that it’s stopped selling jet cards and NetJets says it’s not taking any more customers for its smaller aircraft. “The vast number of flights is taxing the air travel infrastructure in ways we haven’t seen in years,” the company said. CNBC said Argus International reported that July was the busiest month ever for private jet flights (more than 300,000) and it expects October to beat that record, even though it’s usually part of the off-season for private travel.
Those who manage to book flights are sometimes not getting the regal treatment they expect. Cancellations, delays and operational issues that many private travelers use business aviation to avoid are becoming a factor thanks to pilot shortages and a lack of parts for repairs. Even catering is taking a hit and it’s created some disappointed clients. “Say you’ve got a client who ordered Belvedere vodka and the caterer couldn’t only get Grey Goose,” Doug Gollan, founder of Private Jet Card Comparisons, told CNBC. “So the customer gets on the plane and he’s ticked off that he’s paying all this money and saying ‘why didn’t I get my Belvedere vodka?’”