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Fly at you own Comfort

Private jet travel, though a small industry, is rapidly growing in India. And corporates and executives are demanding more from their air charter service provider than just flying from one point to another.

By: Sanjay Godhwani, CEO & Managing Director, Religare Voyages Limited

In the resurgent and buoyant economic climate of today, luxury travel is no longer a preserve of the leisure industry. The concept of a luxury business jet, where a jet is bought or chartered by a corporate entity for its senior executives to fly across the globe, is catching on rapidly. As the world aviation sector grows, the fastest growth is in fact being recorded in the Asia Pacific region with India and China taking the lead.

There is a rapid increase in demand for luxury jets in India both from charter and ownership perspective. The market drivers that create this demand usually result from a resurgent economy. Increased globalization of trade, wealth creators and emerging markets create pockets of individuals or corporate entities that are the primary consumers of business jets. The Goldman Sachs Emerging Market projections for the next decade show a buoyant growth of 6.7 per cent with the BRIC nations being main drivers.

India has seen a greater demand in the private jet sector with experts pipping the growth rate at a very healthy 15 per cent all over the Asia Pacific region. When I took over Religare Voyages, air charter service business, a few years ago, the charter business in India was a small and nascent industry where people needed education about the entire concept.

Most charters catered to high profile celebrities or political leaders, with the corporate sector entering the fray only recently. The earlier trend of small time operators with a few crafts offering air charter services has shifted towards consumers opting for companies with a blue chip promoter pedigree and safety standardisations that offer them a joint proposition of luxury and credibility. The market has further grown with the entry of luxury jet manufacturers in the country, who in turn have done their bit to create awareness about this sector.

A private jet can actually become a secure, economic and convenient mode of transport if a company has to send senior executives for business meetings at multiple destinations. Another benefit that comes from using a private jet is health. Not wasting valuable executive time at waiting lounges or security checks, on-demand flight schedules and in-flight private meetings are all need of the hour for busy executives. The reduction of stress and wasted hours are actually a tangible result in terms of increased productivity.

Today’s private jets are a class apart in terms of innovation and performance, and are the perfect marriage of luxury with innovation. The expectations for such items obviously include state of the art machinery, and a promoter pedigree with the aviation know-how. Safety and security need to be an unspoken promise by the air charter service provider.

In terms of luxury, there really are no limits. Today’s business jets are required for long haul international flights rather than a short hop across to other metro cities in India. The long range business jets should be able to handle crowded airports. Technology and capability are also mixed with design processes to offer state of the art design. The desire for quality is encouraging more conventional interior design processes and materials, such as wood, to be used in private aircraft. Amenities like touch screen phones, internet and phone services, concierge services with airport picks and drops are just a part of the process. Most business jets come accompanied with rest areas, like Falcon 7X, where a whole section can be turned into a King sized bed area at the touch of a button.

Going beyond this, however, a true professional will offer much more, over and above creature comforts. The entire focus now has shifted to offer the flying business executive a seamless flight experience. True luxury lies in customizing the experience for the traveller, thus helping them have an unparalleled experience. We get a lot of repeat customers and for most of them it is the personalised service and attention to detail that matters. What also matters is integration in all their travel needs. Thus the business traveller needs a company that will not only provide charter service, but also help in booking ground transport to hotels, arranging business conferences, and much more. This is one of the reasons that Religare Voyages has seamlessly integrated air charter and customized travel solutions.

In the end, business jets are here to stay and they will only evolve into far greater machines offering superior comfort and service. The human element of the services will distinguish the cream from the competition.

Sanjay Godhwani has the necessary business acumen to make any brand a success due to his versatile experience in different businesses and sectors. Currently, he heads Religare Voyages and is actively involved in the growth of the Religare Aviation business vertical. He plays a supervisory role in developing all business verticals under the Religare Voyages umbrella.