In the time of Corona, people are finding it safer to travel in private vehicles instead of public transport. And this is not limited to the ground, the same is true of the sky! Those affluent people who used to travel in first or business class of commercial airlines before Corona, are now going by plane charter. In this they are traveling with their family, friends or business partners.
Many people are doing this because of compulsion because there is no commercial option, but a large section is taking the service of charter plane because of security. Scheduled domestic flights were closed for two months last year. When the flights opened on May 25, 2020, a Bhopal family chartered a private airline A320 to fly their daughter and grandchildren from Bhopal to Delhi. That family was not ready to take the risk of infection of Kovid-19 by sending them on a commercial flight.
By March, 2020, corona had spread in many parts of the world. Since then, the rules and regulations of air service change every second or third day. If cases are increasing in any country, then those coming from there are banned. When India stopped international flights last March, many Indians were abroad. He had to return to the country before this ban was implemented. Due to lack of commercial option, he had to return by charter plane. In December last year, when the corona was spreading very fast in Britain, then India stopped the flights coming from there. The family of a very big Bollywood star was in London at that time. The family came back to Mumbai on a charter plane, well before the deadline, after which no flights were allowed from the UK.
Read: Traveling by plane can be expensive, know what is the reason
Kanika Tekriwal, CEO of JetsetGo Aviation, a large charter company, said that earlier she used to get 30-40 requests for booking daily. Most of them were business people. Kanika told that now this number has increased by 9-10 times. Most of these customers are new. Along with business, the demand for personal travel has also increased. If rich people want to go somewhere for personal travel, then they first think about charter plane. Here, another change has been noticed. The demand for charter planes for business has decreased. This is the effect of shifting of business meetings to mediums like Zoom.
Earlier, most people used to book planes for business travel. Now the trend is changing and it has also affected the personal travel segment. Apart from this, whenever the infection of corona is less, people who have been locked in homes for so long, they like to roam. A kind of ‘revenge travel’ culture is visible. Due to Corona, people locked in their homes are going out for a walk with their families. Rich people are especially going to visit Maldives, Russia, Greece, Netherlands and Switzerland. There is a lot of demand for charter planes among these people.
After the second wave of Corona, there are only a few countries, which have lifted the ban on the arrival of Indians. Some countries have allowed people who have been fully vaccinated to come. On the other hand, RT-PCR test is still necessary to board the plane. If you haven’t got the test done, you can’t board an airplane going abroad.
Let us also tell you how much money rich people are spending on charter planes. If someone books a private plane to go from Delhi or Mumbai to Dubai, then he has to spend 37 lakh rupees for it. For Mumbai-London-Mumbai, the cost is Rs 40 lakh and for Bengaluru-Singapore-Bengaluru it is Rs 45 lakh. This cost also depends on the size of the plane and for how long you are booking it. Booking of charter plane starts from Rs 80 thousand per hour for 8 seater turboprop and it goes up to Rs 5-6 lakh per hour for 16 seater ship. Apart from this, there are other charges, such as airport charges, landing and overflying charges etc.
The Delhi airport opened a separate general aviation terminal last September. Although it was opened during the time of Corona, but after the first wave. At that time this terminal used to handle about 20 flights daily. This number doubled in the second wave. One, there was a lot of movement of air ambulances and apart from that there were many rich Indians who wanted to go from India to other countries for the safety of themselves and their families. Now that the second wave is stopping and the number of new patients is decreasing, the same trend is visible, which was seen after the first wave. That is, the interest of people in traveling is increasing.
You will remember that after the first wave, many film stars were taking pictures of Maldives and sharing them through their social media accounts. When the second wave hit in April this year, Maldives along with 30 countries closed their borders to Indians. Now slowly such foreign hideouts are opening up for Indians.
Kanika says that there is a desperation to roam among the people. About 60 percent of the people want to leave their homes. Maybe you are one of them too. If you are working from home then it can also be done from any tourist destination. If you are among the nobles of the country, then book your ‘Udankhatola’ and go out to a distant country.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are those of the author.