As Europe slowly opens up to international travel, interest in private aviation is also increasing as a safe and efficient means of transportation to reach Europe’s best and most secluded spots, as well as its famed coastal corners and isles. For exclusive private aviation company Flexjet (by Directional Aviation), European activity has been rising month on month, with a 171-percent increase in flights from April to May, and a 132-percent increase from May to June. As more borders open and regulations continue relax, there’s no signs of slowing. Here, we talk to Marine Eugène, Flexjet’s European Managing Director, on the hottest destinations for private jet travel this summer.
The Greek Islands:
“Having a local runway that private jets can access makes the whole difference,” says Eugène. This is why Greek islands like Mykonos and Milos are high on the getaway list for private jet travelers: “We’re bringing our customer closer to their boat and closer to their villa, so we’re seeing a lot of Greece at the moment.”
The Balearic Islands:
“We’ve seeing a lot of Ibiza and Mallorca. They remain very popular with our customer,” says Eugène. Other Balearic Islands like Formentera are also becoming popular options for the private jet set.
“Driving down to Cornwall is incredibly long, [but] you can fly into Exeter and then helicopter…Our [Directional Aviation’s] acquisition of Halo makes a lot of sense for that. We’re flying a lot of those helicopters into properties and villas, directly onto the land of the owners,” says Eugène.
“In the summer season, everyone’s drawn to the Mediterranean,” says Eugène, “so you’re going to see a lot of destinations from Napoli, to go off to Capri, or smaller airports, like Salerno, so they can go up the Amalfi Coast. You [also] have Sardinia: Olbia is a very popular airport in the summer with easy access to Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast).”
Figari in the south of Corsica is another popular airport for those flying private, according to Eugène. “For me, Figari means holiday immediately,” she says, citing it as one of her personal favorites.
Elsewhere in the South of France, Saint-Tropez remains ever popular. Flexjet’s all-new Praetor 600 is actually the only super-midsize aircraft capable of landing at nearby La Môle airport, making it an in-demand, time-saving option.
Regardless of destination, travelers are tending to stay longer in the places they visit. “People are going to stay under the sun and enjoy the summer holiday away; I don’t see many of those people coming back. In a normal year, you’d see people hoping into London for Wimbledon or for the racing [at Ascot], and then they would zip back to the Mediterranean. My instinct is that we’re going to see less of those out-and-back [trips] because it’s not allowed for the moment, so people aren’t going to take the risk in doing this,” says Eugène.
Another trend in private aviation that Eugène is seeing for the summer and beyond: An increased interest in environmental responsibility. “Private jets can be targeted and controversial when it comes to the potential carbon off-set and the impact we have on climate change, so it’s something we’ve been aware of for a long time. You’ve got to do the minimum expected, which is carbon offset, but some companies tend to leave the option to the customer. We make it mandatory; it’s part of our pricing, and we go way beyond the 100-percent offset. We actually offset three-times our carbon, we buy 300-percent credit, because it’s not just the carbon emission—we have a lot of other things to consider.”