The wealthy are once again taking to the skies on private jets as the country reopens and leisure travel is becoming a more accepted practice.
Aviation safety auditor Argus has been tracking charter flight data since January and found that flights are on the rise following a steep decrease in March and April. After a good start in May, June is on track to match or exceed its numbers from 2019.
To get a sense of where the jet-set crowd is headed, Business Insider asked some of the largest private jet firms in the US including Jet Linx, Flexjet, VistaJet, Magellan Jets, and Sentient Jet which destinations their clients are flying to.
Some firms say pandemic is bucking the trends are typically off-season destinations for this time of year are surging in popularity either due to their social distancing benefits or reopened status. A large trend showed flyers heading to the mountains where social distancing is more easily achieved than in cities.
Ski towns and destinations closest to national parks in the west including Yellowstone and Glacier were among the most popular for some operators while destinations still emerging from lockdown like New York were largely avoided. Popular summer destinations in the Northeast and Southeast also continue to attract visitors, despite quarantine requirements in some.
Here’s where they’re going, according to the leading private jet companies in the country.
The fully reopened state tops the list for two of the top private jet firms, Flexjet and Sentient Jet, as the wealthy seek social distancing opportunities in the mountain communities of Aspen, Eagle, and Vail, as well as the capital of Denver. Sentient Jet data shows that most of its clients heading to the region are doing so from Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona. while high-end operator Vista Jet is also reporting the Los Angeles-Aspen route to be among its most popular.
The Massachusetts Islands and Cape Cod
Cape Cod and the nearby islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are always a favorite of the wealthy during the summer seasons and this one is no different. Flexjet and Magellan Jets both report that flyers are heading from Florida to the Northeast with Nantucket and Hyannis among the most popular.
The newly-reopened Sunshine State is seeing an influx of visitors from the West Coast as Magellan Jets is reporting flyers from Southern California are primarily heading to Florida. High-end provider VistaJet is seeing movement on the ever-popular New York-Palm Beach route.
Travelers from the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are still required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, according to the Florida government.
Texas has seen increased activity for Jet Linx and has been a top region for its clients for both interstate and intrastate travel. The charter operator says that most clients entering the Lone Star state are coming from Colorado while travel between the Texan cities of Houston, Dallas, and Austin is also proving to be its most active sector in the past month.
Jet Linx is reporting that Georgia is a popular destination for Floridians with both states among the first to reopen. Flights from Florida to the Peach State was the third most active route for Jet Linx in the past month.
The national parks continue to draw visitors even during the pandemic as the cities of Missoula and Bozeman are in the top five destinations for Flexjet. The charter operator reported that it doesn’t typically fly to mountainous destinations this time of year but it is seeing an increased demand to places like Montana as it’s easier to social distance there.
“So far this summer, we are seeing unprecedented demand to more remote and mountainous locations, which allows travelers to continue to maintain social distances,” Megan Wolf, Flexjet’s chief operating officer, said in a statement to Business Insider.
Jackson Hole is another destination for the wealthy that’s seeing continued popularity during the pandemic with Flexjet also reporting an increase of traffic to the remote town. Though typically a winter destination due to its ski resorts, the mountain town is just south of numerous national forests and national parks, including Yellowstone.
Also topping Flexjet’s top five list are Napa and Sonoma County, just north of San Francisco in Northern California. Summer usually sees travelers head to the region in search of wine and Napa Valley is indulging with restaurants and vineyards open for business, though with restrictions.
Vermont and New Hampshire
Magellan Jets is reporting an increase of flyers heading from the Southeast to destinations in Vermont and New Hampshire, as well as Boston. The trend is typical for this time of year as Northeast residents head home for the summer as Florida heats up during the summer.
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