Private jet numbers likely to soar for corporations and private individuals: Knight Frank

Private jet numbers likely to soar for corporations and private individuals: Knight Frank
Private jet numbers likely to soar for corporations and private individuals: Knight Frank

The results of The Wealth Report Attitudes Survey, which this year are based on responses from almost 900 of the world’s leading private bankers and wealth managers, offer an window on the issues that are influencing UHNWI investment and lifestyle decisions, according to Knight Frank’s latest report.

According to the Attitudes Survey, only 15 percent of UHNWIs use private aviation for the majority of their business and personal flights.

However, the pattern varies widely around the world.

Latin America’s wealthy residents, perhaps worried about the risk of kidnapping, are the biggest users, with 40 percent opting to go private.

Just 4 percent of Australasian UHNWIs regularly choose to take a private jet, and in Asia their usage still lags behind the region’s rapid rise in wealth creation – only 9 percent of UHNWIs routinely travel on non-commercial flights.

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Private jet numbers likely to soar for corporations and private individuals: Knight Frank

In-depth data supplied by industry analysts JETNET and WINGX, confirm these broad patterns, but also reveal some striking emerging trends.

While the US (12,717), Mexico (950) and Brazil (786) are the top three nations by some margin when it comes to fleet size, JETNET’s figures show numbers are rising fast in Asia.

Hong Kong (+535 percent), Taiwan (+367 percent), China (+347 percent) and Macau (+300 percent) all feature in the top 10 list of locations where growth has been fastest over the past 10 years. China, with 277 jets, now claims eighth position in overall ownership levels.

In terms of flight numbers America dominates – over 75 percent of the world’s 1,000 busiest routes are within the US.

“Business aviation is deeply embedded as a complement to and in some cases a replacement for scheduled airline services,” says Richard Koe, Managing Director of WINGX.

“It wouldn’t be unusual for a firm with a turnover of US$50m to have its own plane,” confirms Hardy Sohanpal of international operator Global Jet Concept.

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Private jet numbers likely to soar for corporations and private individuals: Knight Frank

As our data shows, geopolitics can have a major impact on private aviation. Traffic between Cuba and the US, for example, has taken off sharply since 2012, while the opposite is true of flights between Russia and Ukraine.

Looking ahead, the Chinese market is set to see strong growth, says Mr Koe.

“The government is starting to see the importance of business jets as a competitive tool to support corporations in pursuit of regional trade opportunities.”

There is also the potential for growth in the US depending on how the new administration’s policies play out, adds Mr Sohanpal.

“We have had a number of enquiries recently from construction and finance companies.”

But growth in Latin America is likely to be more muted, particularly in oil-dependent countries like Venezuela, he notes.

“There are a lot of aircraft being put up for sale at the moment and now is the perfect opportunity to trade up or buy first time.”

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Private jet numbers likely to soar for corporations and private individuals: Knight Frank

Globally, however, private jet numbers are likely to rise as the desire to travel efficiently with maximum privacy becomes more of a priority for corporations and private individuals, says Mr Sohanpal.

“The introduction of new apps and charter models that are competing to become the Uber of the airways is also likely to attract those who shuttle frequently between cities travelling first or business class.”

Definition: UHNWI: Ultra-high-net-worth individual – someone with a net worth of over US$30m excluding their primary residence and HNWI: High-net-worth individual – someone with a net worth of over US$1m excluding their primary residence.

 

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