The UK’s wealthiest bought 14 pre-owned private jets last year, worth $118.2m in total, nearly triple the number in 2019 due to pandemic travel restrictions, according to private jet broker Colibri Aircraft.
The UK’s rebounding figure was because the pandemic grounded flights across the world, a spokesperson told City A.M.
“There’s one client who said it was because airlines were cancelling routes or going bust for example, and so they thought ‘well I might as well get my own jet’, but that was one client,” a spokesperson said.
Managing director of Colibri Aircraft, Oliver Stone, told City A.M. that when airlines stopped doing the schedules they used to or reduced routes, it gave wealthier families more security in regard to the pandemic and travel.
“It varies year by year. The biggest difference in 2020 versus 2019 was that coronavirus kicked in and we saw some people getting into the business who had never been in the business before, who were recognising the fact that travel was going to be significantly more complicated for them.”
“Especially if they were living in less well-served travel hubs because airlines had significantly cut back on travel areas or travel schedules. They have a general desire, just like most folks, to make life a little bit easier on themselves.”
While the UK had the second-largest market, Germany saw the largest number of pre-owned business aircraft sales in 2020, according to Colibri Aircraft, with 32 private jets bought and worth around $127m.
Analysis by the private jet broker found that a total of 154 pre-owned private jets were bought in Europe last year, with an estimated total value of $1.01bn, up only slightly from 152 in 2019.
Prices remained steady as demand for business aviation during the crisis remained strong, the firm said, despite business aviation flights sinking 9.1 per cent in January compared to the same month in 2020.
“The European private jet market has held up well during the coronavirus crisis. There were 41,154 business aviation departures in Europe in 2020, which was only down by 22.8 per cent in 2019,” Stone added.
“Our research also shows that the sale of pre-owned private jets has remained strong, and this has potentially been supported by new first-time buyers – people who are now interested in buying their own jet because of the crisis.”
Colibri Aircraft, which specialises in the marketing, resale and purchase of pre-owned private aircraft, said that the average price of a pre-owned jet last year was $6.54m.