With first-time users of private jets on the rise, the UK’s Farnborough Airport is not only carbon neutral but offers a five-star hub for air travel across Europe and beyond. By Jenny Southan
Travelling by air during the pandemic has become a highly stressful and complicated experience, which is why many people who have previously flown commercial are now transitioning to private jets.
In Globetrender’s Private Travel Trends 2021-2022 report, we identified “Debut Charters” as a key trend for the year ahead.
Farnborough Airport’s CEO Simon Geere said: “I think we are seeing the emergence of a new market, where families who would normally travel two or three times a year and who haven’t been able to travel during the pandemic are now willing to pay a premium to travel for the experience that Farnborough Airport can offer. There are no car parking charges and access is hassle and stress free as we are located only 45 minutes South West of London with direct access via the M3 motorway.
“Once customers realise the benefits of Farnborough Airport’s reduced touchpoints, unrivalled service and seamless experience, for many it becomes the practical choice as flying private buys them time in their busy lives. At the same time, private jet operators are making the experience more accessible than ever through new ways to fly private, from single seat purchases to jet card programmes,” Geere added.
In the UK, one of the best places to fly from is Farnborough Airport, in Hampshire, within easy reach of London. Not only is it one of the most cutting-edge business aviation airports in the world, with striking architecture by 3DReid Architects, but it has impressive eco credentials too.
In 2018 Farnborough was awarded “carbon neutral” status by Airports Council International Europe. This year, Farnborough started to offer sustainable aviation fuel, allowing the reduction of flying emissions by 80 per cent and marking a significant next step in the airport’s work to support the aviation industry’s cutback of carbon dioxide output.
Here are five reasons for first-time users to fly private from Farnborough Airport…
1. A seamless and stress-free journey
Although it’s described as a “business aviation” hub, there’s no reason why leisure travellers can’t fly from Farnborough Airport, which is just minutes from major roads and an easy 60-minute drive to central London. (Passengers can also travel by helicopter to and from Battersea in just 15 minutes.)
Those driving can take advantage of the secure, complimentary parking just seconds from the terminal. Once they arrive, passengers are welcomed by a dedicated concierge and shown to a comfortable lounge where they can wait for their flight in peace.
Even for people who are vaccinated, being around crowds and standing in queues can be stressful and time consuming. Flying private means you avoid all of that, you can travel in your own bubble and streamline the whole journey from start to finish.
Customers can choose when they want to fly and get to the airport just 30 minutes before take-off. Those who don’t need to be screened or visit the terminal can drive directly to their jet on departure and on arrival have their vehicle waiting for them as the aircraft stairs are lowered, for the most discrete and convenient experience.
2. Impressive facilities and service on the ground
Although you might want to glide from terminal to jet as quickly as possible, for those who are happy to take their time, Farnborough Airport’s state-of-the-art main terminal offers spacious and peaceful lounges to relax in pre-flight.
With the dedicated concierge team on hand for any last-minute requests, there are also free refreshments, magazines and newspapers. Passengers looking for some privacy or needing to get some work done, can take advantage of private meeting rooms, while younger travellers can enjoy games consoles.
3. A complete portfolio of jet partners
You don’t have to own a plane or have an expensive jet lease to fly privately. Farnborough Airport works with the world’s best private jet operators offering a myriad of ways to travel privately depending on the traveller and their specific needs.
Flexjet offers a variety of options for travellers, depending on the amount of flying they require. Boasting some of the youngest aircrafts in the fractional jet industry, the shared ownership offering caters to regular fliers, while the Jet Card Programme is a good option for lighter and infrequent travellers, providing flexibility and no long-term commitment.
The Flexjet fleet consists of: Embraer Legacy 500 (a midsize aircraft, seating eight), Embraer Praetor 600 (super-midsize, catering to up to nine people), and Gulfstream G650 (ultra-long range, accommodating up to 15 passengers); make your selection as party size dictates.
With UK-based operator VOLUXIS, customers can fly to over 6,000 destinations globally at a time that suits them. VOLUXIS’ fleet of five high-performing aircrafts include: Global Express XRS, Phenom 300, Hawker 900 XP, 850XP, and 750, catering to a range of journey lengths.
Two of these aircrafts are based at Farnborough, and, if you are flexible with dates and timings, you can take advantage of VOLUXIS’ Empty Leg private jet charters, which offer the perfect cost-effective solution.
An aircraft owner and operator based in the UK, Catreus currently manage and operate a mixed fleet of aircrafts, including some of the world’s most popular business jets – from a Bombardier Global 6000 to the Cessna Citation Bravo. All Catreus aircrafts are available for charter services.
Aero offers a new way to experience private jet charter by buying a single seat on a private jet, rather than booking out the whole aircraft. Aero’s semi-private concept allows individuals and groups of travellers the luxury of travelling through a private airport, before boarding a VIP private aircraft to be whisked away to coveted destinations, such as Ibiza and Mykonos, at the fraction of the cost of whole aircraft charter.
4. Practical and timesaving air transfers
Travelling by private jet offers the additional bonus of being able to land at airports closer to your final destination. With time being more precious than ever, this is a huge advantage for passengers looking to wave goodbye to lengthy transfers once they land when heading to the slopes.
Unlike commercial flights with fixed routes to main international airports, private jets offer flexibility in being able to land and take-off from hubs closer to some of the world’s most appealing destinations, such as Switzerland’s Samedan Airport, where you practically land on the pistes of St Moritz just ten minutes away.
5. Travel with pets
Finally, Farnborough Airport has a “Pet Travel Scheme”, which means you don’t have to worry about trying to find someone to feed your cat or put your dog in a kennel when you go abroad. (You can even take ferrets on board!) An on-site vet will make sure your beloved pet is healthy, content and ready to fly.