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December 27, 2009updated Feb 11, 2013

Storms, Holidays, Not Terrorism Fears Drive Private Jet Bookings

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

NEW YORK, NY — Winter storms combined with late travel plans and increased marketing efforts have spurred a spike in private jet flights over the Christmas holiday. However, executives of several private jet companies contacted by Elite Traveler said that Friday’s terrorism attempt against a Delta Airlines’ flight operated by subsidiary Northwest Airlines has not specifically led to new bookings.

With reports of delays due to increased security procedures, including additional screening for international flights bound for the U.S., plus new limitations on cabin service, commercial airlines are once again facing the difficult situation of making air travel less convenient.

Among the new policies being implemented is making passengers remain seated during the final hour of their flight and turning off inflight moving maps showing an aircraft’s location. The latter, according to various news reports has resulted in some flights operating without inflight entertainment, and combined with airport delays, making holiday family travel more difficult.

“That incident (the Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit) just reinforces the differences between private and commercial travel,” Woody Harford, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer of CitationAir told Elite Traveler. However, he added, his company’s increase in business has been “a result of our relaunch more than any commercial incident.” In the Fall the operator changed its name from CitationShares to CitationAir by Cessna followed by a major marketing blitz.

Ricky Sitomer, CEO of BlueStar Jets, a charter broker of private jet flights and a seller of jet cards, said his company had seen a “huge increase because of the snowstorm.”

Delta AirElite Business Jets, a separate subsidiary of Delta Airlines, has seen demand climb. “We have seen an increase in
holiday travel. We cannot directly attribute any of the increase to the commercial flight incident,” spokesperson Rebekah Biddle said.

Separately, it does not appear any additional security procedures have been ordered for private jet flights according to several sources.

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