Bombardier Skyjet, the premier
service for booking private business jets and a unit of Bombardier
Aerospace, reported that the 2004 holiday season reached a seven-year high
both in the volume of trips and revenue.Bombardier Skyjet, which pioneered the mega-broker segment of the business
aviation industry in 1997 and launched the first real-time booking engine
for private business jets, continued to experience significant growth in
volume and market share in 2004, capped by a holiday travel season from
Thanksgiving through New Year’s that outpaced the previous year by 42
percent in trip volume and double the revenue.
According to Bombardier Skyjet General Manager Alexandre Monnier, the
continued tremendous success of the company’s jet card, offering blocks of
25, 50 or 100 flight hours, contributed to its overall performance during
the holiday season, but he pointed out that on-demand charter business jet
trips also were strong during the period as well.
“The continued boom in private jet travel through the holiday season
didn’t come at the expense of the commercial airline industry,” said Mr.
Monnier, noting that airline holiday traffic finally returned to
pre-September 11 levels in 2004. “More consumers made the decision to fly
during the 2004 holiday season, both privately and commercially,” said Mr.
Monnier. “The difference is that increased airline traffic translates to
headaches for consumers—crowded airports, packed flights and in some
cases missed connections and cancelled flights,” he said. “In contrast,
private jet travel even during peak periods remains a pleasant and
convenient experience for travelers.”
Mr. Monnier said during Thanksgiving, the entire North American private
jet fleet is almost fully utilized, and the fleet is heavily booked during
the period from Christmas through New Year’s Day. As the fleet continues
to expand, new private jet customers are taking up that additional
capacity, which is yet another indication that growth in private jet
travel is going to continue at a strong pace.
Tips for Booking Private Jet Leisure Trips in 2005
Given that demand for weekend leisure trips is expected to be strong in
2005, Mr. Monnier advises consumers to book with as much advance notice as
“Private jet travelers who are accustomed to being able to get a jet at
the last minute may find availability will be a little tighter this year,
especially during three-day weekends,” he said. “Because Bombardier Skyjet
uses a carefully screened network of quality operators, we don’t fly
customers on inferior aircraft or with unproven operators. Consumers
should book with sufficient time to make sure they will enjoy a quality
Destinations that are particularly popular include the major U.S. ski
destinations, South Florida and the Caribbean. Some of the trends Skyjet
has seen include an increase in trips to Nassau and Paradise Island in the
Bahamas, and ski trips to Jackson Hole, Wyo., and the Montana ski areas,
in addition to the traditional Colorado favorites, Aspen and Vail. But
wherever the destination, the message to private jet travelers is to book
early, according to Mr. Monnier.
Additional leisure travel tips from the pros at Bombardier Skyjet include
Baggage—First-time charter customers are often surprised to find that
baggage space is limited on light jets, and ski trips and golf trips
present a particular challenge. Depending on the size of jet and number of
people traveling, consumers may find it necessary to ship equipment ahead
Weather—As with any travel to northern destinations in winter months,
ski area travel presents special challenges, not the least of which is the
possibility of poor weather conditions. Just as weather affects commercial
airline travel, it can interfere with private jet travel. Travelers should
be prepared to be flexible if weather interferes with their plans.
Night travel—Airfields that serve ski areas, located in mountainous
terrain, often have specific conditions that apply. Some airports allow
night landings but not night takeoffs. Some do not allow any night
operations (after sunset) at all, so your travel schedule has to be
Island hopping—Many travelers assume they can fly from island to island
on a privately chartered business jet, but many islands do not have
sufficient runway lengths to accommodate jet landings. An experienced
company can assist you in planning your travel. Also, remember that some
islands are international destinations whereas others are U.S.
territories. International flights, as with commercial airline travel,
require clearing customs and filing advance paperwork.
Landing slots—Some popular ski area airports, along with metro airport
locations for special events such as the Super Bowl, require a
pre-arranged time slot for private jet trips. This means travelers have
less flexibility than they normally would as their jet must make its time
slot within a few minutes. When landing slots apply, private jet travelers
need to make sure they depart on schedule.