New York, New York – With much of the commercial aviation fleet sidelined by the clouds from the Icelandic volcano, private jets were busy shuttling stranded elite travelers across the Atlantic, according to exclusive interviews by Elite Traveler with key private jet industry executives.
Jet Aviation, a multi-service provider that manages private jets for owners and provides charter services, said during the weekend and through Monday it had activity to the U.S. from Spain and the south of France. A spokesperson noted, “Call volume requests are steep and are mostly from business people trying to return to the U.S.”
MarquisJet Chief Marketing Officer Randy Brandoff said the jet card provider that sells hours on the NetJets fleet has seen a surge in demand and is working to accommodate customers who want to make it across the Atlantic, mainly returning from Europe.
In perhaps one of the episode’s most ironic twists, while Delta Air Lines, like most commercial airlines had to scuttle all or nearly all of its trans-Atlantic flying, subsidiary Delta Air Elite, its private jet arm was busy with metal in the air moving elite travelers. James Murray, Director of Flight Control, told Elite Traveler, “We have seen a definite increase in demand for private jet travel, both originating from and terminating in Europe.” He added, “Our Flight Coordination team is closely tracking the volcanic ash cloud to stay abreast of airport and routing options that may be utilized to safely and effectively serve those customers.
Other management companies and FBOs (private jet terminals) reported increases in trans-Atlantic flying, including in some cases friends sending their jets overseas to help stranded relatives, friends and colleagues.