Demand for private helicopter flights soars to its highest level since the recession ahead of Cheltenham Festival

Edith Hancock
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Well-heeled racing fans are opting for helicopters to save their outfits (Source: Getty)

The helicopter business is booming, with more guests than ever shelling out for helicopter flights from London to this year's Cheltenham Festival, according to the event's organisers.

Skytime Jets, Cheltenham's main helicopter provider, has said bookings for private flights direct from London to the races have doubled since last year, making 2016 the biggest year for grand entrances to the grandstand since the 2008 crisis.

According to the firm, a return flight from London to the race meet costs an eye-watering £4,000, but can save well-heeled racegoers a whole two hours in travel time.

A typical drive to Cheltenham takes just over two hours, but avid racing fans tell us it takes at least twice as long during the festival period. A helicopter flight, though, takes about half an hour.

The Capitalist was told the service is proving popular in London's financial quarters. With Cheltenham Festival running throughout the week, the half-hour flight from office to grandstand means City boys and girls can make it to the races and still do an honest day's work.

"What we're finding this year is that people are very time-poor", said a Skytime spokesperson.

"Cutting down travel time means those taking helicopters, a lot of them working in the City, can still earn their paycheques."

According to Skytime, fashion was also a key deciding factor for those travelling by helicoper.

"A lot of the City people booking, particularly the women, were concerned about creasing their clothes on public transport."

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