NEW DELHI : The super rich, including corporate executives are travelling by private jets and taking flying lessons for both leisure and business, aviation insiders said, putting down the trend to a post-pandemic travel pivot.“Present demand is about 25-30% above pre-covid level," Rajesh Bali, Managing Director of Business Aircraft Operators Association said. “HNIs (high net-worth individuals) are looking at long-range and ultra-long-range business jets and others are looking at medium-range aircraft so there is renewed interest in this segment from people who may not be HNIs but who have business requirement to travel by air." There is also high interest among salaried employees in private helicopters for pilgrimage and related purposes where they are ready to pay up to ₹1.5 lakh each for a 2-3 day tour in a five-seater helicopter, Bali said.
The fleet size of non-scheduled jets is estimated to be around 550 in India with the potential to grow at 10% per year. Demand shot up in the last three years as the wealthy looked to travel exclusively in a sanitised environment without covid-related restrictions.
As of 2015, the Business Aircraft Operators Association estimated, the total fleet size of business jets in India stood at around 487, which would mean a 13% growth over the last eight years. “Covid brought a lot of change in private aviation, where traffic increased by around 200%.
Secondly, everyone wanted to buy an aircraft, and the prices shot up by 30%. As on date, the inventory worldwide for a pre-owned aircraft is basically zero.