The face of the plane charter industry is changing, with high profile celebrities and sports stars influencing the trend. Many people's eyes have been opened to the benefits of private jet travel, and with their extremely high wages Premiership footballers are now among the most frequent private jet flyers.
In summer 2006 demand for the UK's supply of quality private jets was at an all-time high, with one factor being the number of people flying over to Germany for the football World Cup.
One leading international footballer is known to have spent more than £50,000 on a private jet charter for his honeymoon in Dubai, before jetting back to Europe to join other members of his family.
The benefit to security private jets can be has been exemplified by the approval by LA GALAXY for David Beckham to fly to matches around the US. Major League Soccer rules do not allow stars to use private jets as they would prefer players not to be seen as different from fans, but Galaxy sought and received special permission for Becks and the rest of the squad to use private jet hire to get them to and from games.
star Beckham has been mobbed wherever he has gone in the States and the club feared the situation was close to getting out of hand. Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas said: "Using private jets has to do with team security. We're not just bringing one of the biggest athletes in the world, but also one of the most famous people in the world. Our team needs to be safe."
Wealthy entrepreneurs and sports stars are still happy to spend their earnings, unaffected as they are by financial turmoil around the world. Concierge services, butlers, shoppers and stylists are on their shopping list, and they are more than happy to pay for private jet hire as well.
According to Charlie Hoffman, senior director at HSBC Private Bank, their interest in philanthropy and diversification into different assets, such as having property in different countries, means they have less time. As a consequence, anything time-saving therefore becomes very attractive."
Private jets and concierge services come top of the spending list. Research recently carried out by Barclays Wealth showed that the use of private jets looks set to increase significantly over the next year, as sports stars and wealthy individuals search for freedom, safety and saving of time. One conclusion from the research is that people are increasingly using their wealth as a means to gain empowerment and control, rather than just to build assets. Time is seen as the ultimate luxury in busy lives, and private jet hire can be a great time saver.
One private jet hire provider has experienced nearly a 20% increase in global demand for the year, driven by "tremendous wealth creation" among elite individuals, including super sports stars. Airport delays and security fears are also motivators. Where private jet charter was once seen as a luxury, it is now becoming more of a practical necessity.