General Aviation, the umbrella industry that covers private jet use contributes $150 billion a year and 1.2 million jobs for the U.S. economy and is one of the few industries that contributes to the economies of all 50 states. The ignition point for use of private jets is generally business, and then the adjunct is leisure, with many times missions getting combined. National Business Aviation Association research pegs private jet users as making some 41 trips per year, or over 100 flights. In other words, the private jet is both board room and family gathering place.
You can ask, “How does one mix business and leisure?”
Let’s say you’re visiting factory locations in provincial France, Germany and Italy over the course of two weeks. A private jet enables you fly into one of 3,900 airports in Europe near to the location in time for a tour of the location and a full day’s business meetings, then jet off to the next regional airport without a connection. Perhaps you have meetings Monday and Tuesday, but nothing scheduled for Wednesday. You take the jet to London or Paris to check out a top restaurant you read about, or maybe to do a bit of shopping.
What to do on the weekend? Maybe the spouses fly to London for the weekend to meet for some theatre and shopping.
While some might criticize this as an unneeded folly by those that have too much money, let’s remember we live in a service driven economy. If one considers that the Top 0.1 Percent of U.S. taxpayers, a mere 117,000 households, contributed some $214 billion to the economy last year via luxury lifestyle purchases (in addition to the $150 billion figure for private aircraft use), I say keep spending. Others will disagree, but that’s not the point of this piece. This piece is for luxury marketers who are looking for where they can efficiently reach more high spending prospects.
Recently Bloomberg published an article about an increase in private jet use for leisure by the CEOs of publicly traded companies. I was not surprised.
Honeywell forecasts in the next 10 years 9,250 new private jets worth over $250 billion will be delivered. Bombardier puts its forecast at 24,000 new private jets delivered in the next 20 years valued at $650 billion.
Last year was the second best year in the history of private aircraft deliveries. According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association the keys to $22.8 billion dollars in shiny new airplanes were handed over in 2013. To put that in perspective, it was just behind the 2008 record of $23.8 billion. More interestingly, the 2010 post-recession low of $18.6 billion in new deliveries was the industry’s seventh best year since they started keeping records in 1964. As recently as 2003, annual deliveries were less than $10 billion.
As luxury marketers look for ways to target the upper echelons of the 1 Percent, private jets are a good place to find them. About 750 private jets were in Louisville this past weekend for The Kentucky Derby, and as one person told me, “There was plenty of money.”
After all, if you could afford a car, would you walk? Simply put, private jets are the “chariot of choice” for the Ultra High Net Worth, Super Rich or top luxury customers. I think the saying is, “Fish where the fish are.”