, 2022-12-01 08:00:00,
Consolidation, Covid, unprecedented demand, stock exchange listings—the charter industry has been on a wild ride of late, bringing both opportunities and challenges.
Demand Up and Expected to Remain High
The U.S. has dominated the global air charter market, and activity stateside is up about 55 percent over pandemic-stunted 2020, according to Colorado-based Argus International.
Both Argus and Hamburg-based WingX have reported some cooling of demand growth in the U.S., and a greater fall-off in Europe, though demand overall is expected to remain 15 percent to 20 percent above pre-pandemic levels.
It’s driven, operators say, by an influx of new-to-business aviation customers, many of them younger and willing to spend more than traditional charterers—something customers across the board must do today.
These new customers and the general pandemic push away from commercial carriers spurred dramatic change in the market.
A Big Turnaround
For a decade following the Great Recession, an oversupply of lift ceded command of the market to charter brokers, who shopped by price, putting constant downward pressure on charter rates. Jet cards were offered in tiered programs, giving customers a choice of service levels, or access to a specific, in-demand model. Some program memberships included free or highly discounted flights.
In 2019, JetSmarter (then in the process of being acquired by Vista Group) paid $3 million to settle claims over deceptive sales practices after it…
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