Simon Rochefort Vice President Sales VistaJet
Do you think on-demand air travel is more resilient than liner travel? Is it always easy to sell the business aviation product in a generally more hostile environment for aviation?
Simon Rochefort- There is no doubt about the resilience of on-demand air travel. And the figures prove it. Since the first days of deconfliction in May/June this year, we have seen a real boom in demand. I would even say that we are in a golden age. We have never, ever seen so many passengers flying in private jets. We’re targeting niche markets – especially the big captains of industry and business. For them, their time is very valuable. So business aviation is a tool for their efficiency.
How does this translate into figures?
S.R.- Our sales of subscription products reached historic highs in the first half of the year, with over 8,000 new annual subscription hours sold. That is 67% more than in 2020 and even 41% more than in 2019. We even expect this trend to accelerate in the second half of the year.
What advantages do you offer your clients in this context of the pandemic?
S.R.- We offer an ideal product to our business customers. A private jet provides a health guarantee that cannot be found in other modes of transport – air or rail. For example, it has been calculated that the number of public contact points in a trip with a business jet hardly exceeds 20. The driver, dedicated security in a private terminal and the on-board staff – pilots and cabin crew. This is roughly the total number of people with whom the traveller comes into contact. This compares to an estimated 700 points of contact on a traditional flight! In addition, VistaJet is committed to a hospital-like aircraft cleaning procedure with complete disinfection of the aircraft.
What flexibility do you bring to the uncertainties of the pandemic?
S.R.- Flexibility is first and foremost about getting the passenger to where they want to go. But travel has become complicated since the start of the pandemic. We could even say that it is a luxury to go from A to B directly. Our current success is therefore to compensate for the sharp reduction in the number of frequencies and destinations of regular airlines. When I meet customers and we simulate a trip in a business jet or a regular airline, they quickly understand the interest of a plane that is in fact at THEIR disposal. Moreover, we offer the possibility to cancel and keep your quota of hours without any cost. This has resulted in an influx of new customers with a 30% increase in business. And many say that this habit of taking a business plane will remain
The customer does
Does he include environmental considerations in his choices?
S.M.- We are responding to our customers’ concerns about environmental impact. Firstly, with a brand new fleet. We currently have 76 aircraft but will be receiving around twenty new ones in the next few months, equipped with technology that significantly reduces fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. In addition, we are committed to being carbon neutral by 2025, 25 years ahead of the IATA targets. We already offer carbon offsetting and over 80% of VistaJet members have implemented it. We are also working with SkyNRG, a leader in sustainable aviation fuel, to be the first to offer a
fuel that meets the SAF certification.
On which destinations is there a strong development of business aviation?
S.R.- The resort sector has been very important with the lifting of restrictions. The Côte d’Azur has benefited enormously with airports like Cannes and Nice recording record numbers of visitors. In fact, the region offers a very high level of health security which has attracted an influx of American passengers. Other popular destinations include the Maldives and Dubai. For the next few months, I anticipate a huge influx of demand for London, the world’s largest private business jet market. The recent reopening of England is already driving demand. Geneva, Moscow and Paris are also expected to see a pick-up in traffic…
What does VistaJet bring to the table compared to the competition?
I think of our global positioning. We are connected to 187 countries, offering flights in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and even domestic flights in India. I believe this is the best guarantee of our efficiency for the market of frequent business travellers, who are looking for flexibility. Our global approach also allows us to play an increasingly advisory role, much like concierges in large hotels. More and more people ask us what the rules are for travelling to a country. This global vision is becoming a fundamental part of travel.
I’m Michelle, and I love to travel. As a former hotel expert for one of the world’s largest hotel chains, I’ve stayed in nearly every type of room imaginable (including many that were not so desirable!). Nowadays, I am fortunate enough to be able to explore the world on my own terms. From international flights to learning different languages, there is nothing too far out of reach!