By Satyaki Dutta
The aviation industry is one of the most affected sectors due to the global Covid-19 outbreak. As the tourism and business travel were monitored strictly, it has suffered a major loss both internationally and nationally. However, the increase and seamless integration of the Air Charter to the existing system resulted in a rapid revival of the aviation industry.
The pandemic that is plaguing the world brought forth various protective measures in place. The aviation industry was the first to suffer dire consequences along with country-wide lockdowns. The trend is reversing slightly, with mass vaccination drives and better resource management. Yet, it is long time to go for the commercial air transport to revive completely like before the pandemic.
The Air charter companies came forward at a time when the pandemic condition was a bit manageable, but the commercial air connection was not available to the mass. The people who opted for them were the clients from higher economic spectrum or those who needed emergency trips. At this time, the customers had to spend in between INR 3.5 lakh to 15 lakh, depending on the services, distance and type of airlines selected.
However, the air charter service are getting normalized in a couple of months. It is being used to organize curated trips globally, which is more affordable. Consequently, chartered aviation services are experiencing a hike in bookings.
Several travel operators are managing global tours, integrating tour programs with air charter. Besides UAE and Singapore, the demand is high for the European countries with a higher vaccination rate. Leisure and business trips are more in demand. There is supposed to be an uptick in the chartered flights in the post-Diwali session.
In India, services like Bookmycharters experienced an increased booking. Initially, their service from Mumbai to Goa in a six-seater jet cost INR 60,000 per person. Besides them, Baron Aviation is another frontrunner in charter airlines.
Rajan Mehra, the CEO of Club One Air, another major business airline stated that there is a change from business to leisure travelers in recent times, opting for charter flights.
Besides the generic tourist charter flights, the sector is experiencing growth in related sectors too. The industry stands at USD 18billion in 2020, which may go over to USD 20billion in 2021. With the present growth rate of around 10 percent, it may grow around USD thirty billion by 2025.
Several agencies like Stratos Jet Charters, Inc., Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and Fliteline are the frontrunners in the freight charter flights.
The chairman of China Eastern Airlines, Liu Shaoyong said in the matter of air charter that partnership and cooperation between sectors are more vital now. It can impact a positive change in the complete travel and tourism sector.
All the Air Charter companies have rearranged their operation to recover from the pandemic impact. They are strictly following protocols that involve social distancing, masks and related protective gears and regular health check-ups. It results in a smooth operation, more efficient than the traditional commercial airlines.
The air charter has always been somewhat an exclusive mode of air travel. Even with its potential, the mode was not popular, which completely changed in the pandemic time. Even after the aviation sector resumes normalcy, chartered air travel is predicted to stay in trend for the years to come.