Inside Australia’s Growing Private Charter Industry

As reported in a recent article on the private aviation industry in the United States, this business is growing significantly worldwide. However, we also explained how Australia has historically been one of, if not the smallest, markets in the world for business jet charters. Although North America and Europe dwarf Oceania’s private industry, growth in the land down under is still remarkable.

What do recent numbers show?

While flying private didn’t get cheaper, it indeed became more popular, especially since Covid. Globally, passengers with the financial ability to charter a business jet chose the option even if they typically flew commercially to avoid pandemic-related hassle and potentially getting sick. But, according to The Guardian, since January 2020, private jet travel has increased overall by at least 28% in Australia. This is represented by the approximately 320,000 individuals who used the ` style of travel in January of this year.

A Beech B200 Super King Air on the runway at Avalon aIrport.

Photo: Ryan Fletcher /

This is phenomenal news for Australia-based private jet operators, now seeing record profit alongside record demand. This is interesting, as aviation on the continent, especially regarding its major hubs, is nearly back to pre-pandemic travel levels. Nonetheless, as The Guardian explains,

“Clients once wary of the virus have remained loyal, now unwilling to risk cancellations and delays.”

Of course, some travelers choosing to fly private are the typical crowd of high-profile individuals, executives, or directors who have been chartering business jets since well before 2019. But with relatively relaxed rules, especially surrounding pets in the cabin and the sheer convenience built into the private aviation experience, an increasing number of Australian families are also choosing this method of travel. ABC News Australia had the opportunity to discuss the matter with Alexander Robinson, co-founder of the app-based membership charter service “Airly,” who said,

“The families have been more interested than we thought … we haven’t really figured out if it’s because of the time saving or just because it’s a convenient way for the whole family to reach a destination that might not be otherwise possible without transfers.”

A primary issue lurks in this trend

Although business jet operators are doing better than ever, the situation also presents several challenges. Namely, having the capacity to fill demand. With the number of people asking about prices and availability, charter operators are doing their best to find more aircraft and staff to serve loyal and new clients. Both the Guardian and ABC News have stated that many private firms in the country have reported anywhere from 100% to well over 200% increase in bookings.

A Dassault Falcon 2000EX Business jet taxiing at Avalon Airport.

Photo: Ryan Fletcher /

Being a country known for not having a great deal of readily available extra aircraft to go at a moment’s notice, sourcing business jets is now part of the grind. The Guardian spoke with Michael Doohan, owner of Gold Coast-based Global Jet International, who said,

“We’ve got some more coming this year. But I mean, one or two more aircraft isn’t going to meet the demand.”

With Australian commercial aviation getting back to its pre-2020 state, yet plagued with steep fares and high delay or cancellation rates, many first-time private jet flyers aren’t quick to return to their usual way of air travel. Some companies are seeing a significant portion of return customers; Doohan went on to say,

“There’s a lot of first-time buyers. Having not experienced it before the pandemic, they actually enjoyed the experience. We’ve probably retained 50% or more of those people who had never chartered and are still wanting to.”

Sources: The Guardian, ABC News Australia