In last month’s issue of AIN, in Part 1 of the charter/fractional special report, we covered the current state of the charter and fractional share segments, both in the U.S. and worldwide.
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The latest data from Charter X and Avinode paints conflicting pictures of the fortunes of the executive charter market over the past month. Avinode’s demand index for November 1 dipped below 60, having stood at 69.1 just 30 days earlier. Over the same period, Avinode’s average price index showed a slight fall of less than 1 percent to 92.86.
Virgin Charter, the online charter brokerage launched with great fanfare in mid-2007, ceased operations on October 23. “With the severe decline in corporate travel, Virgin Charter was unable to generate sufficient sales to underpin its business plan,” according to a company statement, “and has taken the difficult decision to close its doors.”
The charter segment has been hit particularly hard during this downturn, as the number of flights dropped drastically from year-ago levels. Flight activity has recently begun to show minor increases, but in many cases the downturn has shone a light on other challenges with which the industry must contend.
Executive charter activity is not recovering in line with the prevailing uptick on international stock markets, according to the latest data from online charter marketplace CharterX. While both the Wall Street-based S&P 500 Index and London’s FTSE 100 have made up for lost ground since March, the number of for-hire flights made has continued to dip or at best remain flat.
The FAA has provided grant money to fund a hotline for charter operators to report “suspected illegal commercial activity,” according to the National Air Transportation Association, which is administering the system.
Executive charter broker Hunt & Palmer is opening an office in Hong Kong next month. This will serve as the UK-based company’s bridgehead for developing charter bookings in the potentially huge mainland China market. It also has a new charter brokering office in Singapore to handle the wider Pacific-Rim region.