KOCHI: Chartered flying is the trend among the rich in Kerala during this pandemic period and they don’t mind shelling out Rs 5 lakh for flying between destinations like Kochi and Bengaluru. In fact, the rising demand for chartered flights has forced a Kochi based private airliner to bring in a 2013 model Cessna Citation Mustang Jet for a rent of Rs 1 crore per month to serve its customers. Aviation experts are of the opinion that the chartered flying has witnessed a tremendous growth in the last one year despite the overall slowdown of air travel in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“Almost all the private aviation operators have seen a surge in demand and been responding to increase in demand for charter services. Operators like Jet Aviation has already increased its service network to meet the requirement of the customers basically in cities connecting northern states,” said an industry expert. Halo Airways Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shoby T Paul said they decided to bring in the four-seater Cessna exclusively to serve the customers from Kerala after the company has been getting a lot of enquiries in the last six months.
“In the last one year, our turn over has witnessed a rise of 150 per cent which is mainly from the new business generated from new clients who have been solely relying on commercial airliners,” he said adding the chartered services are mainly used by film celebrities and business persons to fly between Kochi-Chennai, Kochi-Bengaluru, Kochi-Hyderabad and Kochi – Mumbai.
“The main attraction of using chartered flights is that the boarding time is just five minutes. The passenger needs to arrive only five minutes before the departure time and the entire boarding process is completed within ten minutes. They can also carry a more luggage with them,” Paul said.
A senior executive of another chartered airline operator said the demand has increased as more people, who can afford to fly in chartered aircrafts, have identified the safety benefits and cost viability of private aviation.