On the same day Unity Marketing issued its newest report that “(Mass) Affluents (under $400,000 household income) have new attitudes about their (limited) wealth and spending which translates into affluent austerity” private jet charter operator PrivateFly released an analysis of flight activity to the Caribbean tracking the jet stream of the Super Rich.
Pam Danzinger, the CEO of Unity warned luxury marketers, “The (mass) affluents worked hard to accumulate their wealth and financial status and aren’t about to let indulgent spending and giving into consumer temptation threaten that status. They hold management positions in business and are the highest performers in their chosen professions. They are the best-informed customers, aware of what’s happening on Wall Street, as well as ‘main street.’”
According to figures supplied by PrivateFly from WINGX, there were 12,566 charter flights to the 10 busiest Caribbean airports alone from November 2013 to April 2014, the high season for travel. Based on data from Prince & Associates showing that private jets bring an average of $69,000 in spend to the destinations they visit (excluding fuel and landing fees), private jet travelers brought some $867 million in spending to the destinations where the top 10 airports were located.
Carol Cork, PrivateFly’s marketing head notes that charter is only about one-third of private jet activity – the rest being owned jets and fractionally owned jets, so more likely elite travelers will again bring billions of dollars in spending to the Caribbean in the coming months.
Top destination was Nassau where private jet charter fliers alone brought $278 million. St Maarten is often a stopping off place for St. Barts, a popular villa destination and pick-up location for superyachts. Elite travelers drove $104 million in revenue to the island. Providenciales on Turks & Caicos gained $94 million from Ultra High Net Worth families arriving by private jet. When I visited earlier this year a private 727 with a family of 20 from Nebraska had just arrived to spend 10 days at Beaches. Luis Munoz Marin Airport in San Juan, one of four private jet airports serving Puerto Rico was the gateway for $88 million to enter the territory’s economy. Abaco in the Bahamas followed with elite travelers generating some $64 million for the economy with St. Thomas following at $56 million. Bermuda, North Eleuthra, Anguilla and Cayman followed.
When one considers the above numbers represent only 33 to 50 percent of total private aviation activity to the region and only the 10 busiest airports, it shows the huge opportunity for destinations and resorts to increase their share of Super Rich winter travel spending.
During Caribbean Week in New York earlier this year one Minister recalled how the crew of a megayacht spent $10,000 on flowers as they prepared the boat for the owner’s private jet arrival. In St. Maarten, former Primer Minister Sarah Westcot-Williams noted that an UHNW family renting a villa spent some $40,000 on flowers. Yes, flowers.
In another story of high spending, Roxanne Genier described how on a rainy day the owner of the superyacht she was working off popped off for some quick shopping and returned with a $200,000 bracelet.
Top 10 Caribbean Airports – Private Jet Arrivals (Charter Only)
|St Maarten||Princess Juliana||1,514||$104,466,000|
|San Juan||Luis Munoz Marin||1,276||$88,044,000|
|St. Thomas||Cyril King||822||$56,718,000|
|Private Jet Arrivals||12.566||$867,054,000|
Source: PrivateFly, WINGX