Some private jet companies have seen a rise in demand from wealthy Russian families who want to spend more time in the West during the coronavirus pandemic but were unable to avail commercial flights as governments imposed travel bans and restriction of passenger flight movements. This has seen private jet companies making the most of the crisis by transporting wealthy passengers at an inflated price.
However, the scene is not unique to Russia. Reports of Chinese flying home from the United States and Americans going to exotic vacation spots during the pandemic also saw a surge in demand for private jets. And the frequency of such flights has been on the rise through May.
Passengers Not Hesitating to Spend
As the coronavirus pandemic started spreading in Europe and the United States in early March, governments started putting restrictions on public transport and airlines. However, wealthy Russian didn't mind shelling out more to fly to the West to either in private jets. Flyers are paying something between 16,000 to 25,000 euros per flight, a fee that can accommodate up to 13 passengers on a private jet.
Most of the passengers are either heading to countries such as the U.K. and Cyprus where they own property, have relatives or simply hold dual nationality. Although many governments imposed travel bans and restricted movement of passengers, it isn't illegal to fly in private jets. Also, passengers hiring private jets aren't unique to Russia. China too has been using private jets to fly out many of its citizens from the United States. Also, many Americans have been traveling in private jets to elite domestic vacation spots amid this coronavirus outbreak.
Demand Growing Every Day
According to flight tracking data from 80 planes registered with Russian and European charter firms, around 250 private jets were flying between Moscow and Europe. However, it is not known how many passengers were on board each flight.
That said, demand for flights somewhat declined in April, with only 61 round trips although Russia suspended all commercial and charter flights to and from Russia as more cases of coronavirus started getting reported from the country. The frequency of flights once again rose this month, with 107 flights between May 1 and May 26.
Reportedly, there were more passengers flying into Russia in March when coronavirus cases were relatively low. However, the trend reversed over the past few weeks and more people are now hiring private jets to fly out of Russia as coronavirus cases continue to rise every day.