Well-heeled holidaymakers have ousted business tycoons as the most frequent flyers on Britain’s growing fleet of private jets.
Bookings from leisure users have soared following the boom in wages for Premiership footballers, bonuses for City workers and the influx of wealthy visitors from Russia and the Middle East, according to research from Twinjet, the UK’s longest established private jet charter operators.
For the first time, demand for private jets is outstripping supply during this summer as wealthy travellers seek the ultimate luxury to reach their destination.
John Keeble, managing director and founder of Twinjet, said: “Leisure customers have now overtaken business travellers for charters for the first time in our 25 year history and now make up more than 50 per cent of our business.
“For so many of our customers time is at a premium, and using a private jet can make it possible to spend an extra day on their yacht in the Mediterranean which using scheduled flights would rule out - and this is including everyone from Formula One drivers to some of our best-known businessmen.
“The face of the industry has changed, with high profile celebrities and sports stars influencing the trend. Many people’s eyes have been opened to the benefits of private jet travel, and Premiership footballers are now among our most frequent flyers.
“Last summer demand for the UK’s supply of quality private jets was at an all time high, with one factor being the number of people flying over to Germany for the FIFA World Cup. Demand is already at a similar level this summer.
“Increased security at international airports is another major factor, with us it is possible at arrive at dedicated private terminal and take off within as little as15 minutes in total privacy - a much valued commodity.”
One leading international footballer spent more than £50,000 on a private jet charter for his honeymoon in Dubai, before jetting back to Europe to join other members of his family on a second holiday.
Another group of 25 bankers spent £400,000 on a world tour of leading golf courses, and City executives are increasingly turning to private jets for skiing breaks and long weekends.
While Moscow and Dubai are key business destinations for business travellers using private jets, Nice for the south of France and Olbia for Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda are the leading leisure destinations for private jet travellers.