Air charter demand will remain “consistently strong this year” despite Covid-19, according to ACC Aviation, a leading aviation consultancy firm.
Airline route cancellations creating opportunities for charter
The aviation sector has been one of those hardest hit by the impacts of Covid-19. Almost a third of all global air routes have been lost due to the pandemic, with multiple airlines disappearing or reducing their size in restructuring attempts.
With airlines leaving such large gaps in the market, charter companies are stepping in to fill this space, especially on more remote regional routes. Richard Smith, ACC Aviation’s Director of Charter, is confident that this isn’t just a short-term change.
With an estimated three-year timeframe for airlines’ worldwide recovery, we will only see aircraft charter grow in importance”.
Whilst Richard Smith admits that “the pandemic has accelerated the widespread adoption of video conferencing technology”, he also believes that it has “emphasised the value of face-to-face meetings”.
The flexible and reliable nature of chartering will likely appeal to corporate travellers, especially given the continued uncertainty over route cancellations and possible reinstatements. Heightened concerns over health and cleanliness will further boost the charter sector, where consumers can choose who flies with them, not just where they will themselves sit.
Not all sections of the aviation sectors have been hit equally hard by the pandemic. ACC Aviation, which originally began in 2002 as an aircraft leasing specialist, has seen strong first-quarter growth.
Whilst the firm had been focused on profitable airlines pursuing high growth models, Covid-19 forced the company to quickly change its focus. Over the last year, the organisation has focused primarily on helping existing airlines to restructure their assets, and new airlines to grow and satisfy newly available market capacity.
The work has paid off, with ACC Aviation taking 786th position in the Financial Times’s Top 1000 European Companies list.
By Joe Cusmano