India’s rich used to travel by private jet for the comfort and the glamour.
But now safety – and avoiding crowded airports amid the coronavirus pandemic – is the reason that those who can afford it in the world’s third-worst affected nation are fuelling a surge in demand for private planes.
Private jet companies say that ever since flights were allowed to resume from May 25 , business has been brisk.
Tycoons and their families want to go and recover from the country’s lockdown in their holiday homes in Goa or the Maldives, but flinch at the longer-than-usual queues and tedious, prolonged screening protocols – even if they travel first class.
Instead they are booking Gulfstream 120s – or for the super-rich, Bombardier Global 6000s – and paying as much as US$8,000 (S$11,100) for a 16-seater plane on the one-hour flight from Mumbai to Goa.
Even the budget 8-seater option costs at least US$1,100 per hour, plus landing fees and other charges.