By Yusra Sarkar
The Coronavirus has changed the face of travel and tourism, but what does this mean for the marine and aviation industry? Andrew Wilson, ZEDRA’s Head of Marine and Aviation services, gives his insights into trends, demand and some surprising positives.
Private jets: halted purchases but more rental?
The past few weeks have disrupted the aviation industry and the private jet sector is no different. ‘Business aviation fleets are mostly grounded, or jets are repatriating people to their home countries. Some have been redeployed as cargo aircraft and are supporting the movement of PPE around the world, so it’s not a case of nothing moving at all,’ says Andrew.
Businesses, individuals and families are being very careful with expenditure, forecasting and cash reserves, but some purchases are still going ahead. ‘That said sales are subject to some very stringent restrictions and clauses designed to protect both buyers and sellers. Likewise, we are hearing that lawyers involved in these transactions are advising if force majeure can be applied to contracts in the context of a pandemic,’ says Andrew.
Increased uptake in private jet rental
Back in March when it became apparent that near global lockdowns would be necessary, jet hire companies reported a huge increase in rental, as individuals looked to fly privately for security, flexibility and because it was difficult to get the flights they needed with commercial carriers. Could this signify an uptake for the industry going forward?
‘March saw almost unprecedented private jet usage. Jet lessors saw some repatriation, but other flights were related to business as we saw a flux in companies hiring jets in order to close important deals. While private jet purchases for personal use might slow down, we think that leasing might increase, and we could well see more demand for new jets for rental firms and structures to support these purchases,’ says Andrew.
A slow summer for yachts…followed by a surge in use?
Yacht owners may find that the summer charter season is affected, depending on travel restrictions and how comfortable people feel about vacations and holidaying in general. ‘The movement of yachts has been restricted, but as travel restrictions lift, we could see more movement, although it’s unlikely in the short-term. Ports have restricted entry to key workers or to attend to emergency situations and crew are mostly in isolation on the yacht with no owners/guests going on board unless they were on board pre lockdown,’ says Andrew.
International maritime organisations have issued specific guidance on how to handle crew movements or deal with illness on board. The agencies that typically visit yachts to carry out standard compliance checks have made other provisions to move the dates of these or take matters online.
While that may mean a slow summer for yachting, it doesn’t mean that the lull will last long-term. ‘We could actually see increased interest in the yachting industry. Yachting is always very safe, and of course, it affords both privacy and total seclusion if you want it. Not being able to enjoy a summer of yachting won’t make people want to use yachts less – after all, absence makes the heart grow fonder. In fact, a forced time off from charters and travel may whet appetites and we’ll see people look to go back to yachting as soon as the time is right. Things may take a while to get back to normal, but looking into next year and beyond, I think we will see significant uptake in charters and commissions,’ says Andrew.
For more information, please contact Andrew Wilson, ZEDRA’s Head of Marine and Aviation