Aircraft utilization at Flexjet has doubled over the past three weeks as the fractional provider recovers from the Covid-19-induced traffic lull, company CEO Mike Silvestro said this morning during a business aviation summit webinar held by investment research firm Jefferies Equity Research. Meanwhile, he noted that new customer leads over the past four weeks have been “off the charts” as more look to fly privately post-Covid.
Much of the flying currently being done is on the “personal front” and domestically in the U.S., with Florida, Texas, and Arizona being hot spots. Businesses are still only thinking about how to get employees back into offices, Silvestro said, “Then they’ll consider allowing visitors that would require business travel.” On this, he cited New York City-area Teterboro Airport, where there’s “still not much traffic.”
Asked about the recovery for business aviation, Silvestro exuded much optimism. “In past recoveries, business aviation was one of the last to recover. But this time I think is different—it will be first,” he said. “I believe that business aviation will become more desirable as a result of Covid-19. I see upside.” Silvestro added that there is now great general interest in flying privately as people look to reduce exposure while traveling. “We just don’t yet know how many of the increased inquiries we’ve seen will turn into sales.”