Personal jet journey to the Hamptons and Aspen is booming because the wealthy flee the massive cities
The coronavirus pandemic is redrawing the flight patterns of American private jets as airports in resort towns see large jumps in traffic while flights near cities decline, according to a new report.
According to data from Tuvoli, an online jet payment platform put together by Private Jet Card Comparisons, private jet flights at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton, New York increased 172% in October. Flights at Aspen Airport in Aspen, Colorado increased 135% and flights in Vail increased 95%.
In contrast, private jet traffic at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport – often the busiest private jet hub in the country since it was used by the rich flying to New York City – fell 52% in October. Private jet flights at Westchester, another popular airport for New York City, also fell 31%.
Private jet flights at Chicago’s Midway Airport were down 47%, while flights in Washington Dulles – usually the second largest private jet airport in the country – were down 48%.
“It’s further proof that the rich aren’t in their Park Avenue apartments, they’re in the Hamptons or Aspen,” said Doug Gollan, founder of Private Jet Card Comparisons.
The pattern was similar in cities and resorts across the United States as the rich fled New York City, San Francisco, and other major cities for their vacation homes. At the same time, business travel with private jets has virtually disappeared, meaning fewer flights to key business centers.
Private jet companies saw strong growth in new leisure travel customers during the pandemic as the rich – especially older aviators – avoid commercial flights for health reasons and prefer the controlled environment of private jet terminals and their own planes.
Gollan said top CEOs and business owners also hold business meetings in their homes, which has rerouted typical business aviation.
“Instead of having a meeting in their office, a CEO would fly a team to their home in the Hamptons or Aspen and hold the meeting there,” he said.
The airports in Nantucket, Massachusetts saw a 28% increase in October, while nearby Martha’s Vineyard saw a 19% increase.
Gollan said it was unclear whether the rich man’s new work-from-mansion model would permanently change the private jet ticket.
“There will be a direct correlation between Covid and the rate at which large offices are reopening or not reopening,” he said.