The traditional charter jet market that Ashish Bhandari was familiar with for years involved companies that outright bought the jets for their own use. That involved significant maintenance costs, crew staffing, and related expenses to keep such assets online and ready to use. Unfortunately, because their use is so infrequent, the cost of having the option of a charter jet traditionally outweighs its utility. That dynamic has changed, however, in recent years.
Given the dramatic shifts in travel, the rising cost of fuel prices, and now, thanks to the COVID drought causing a significant retirement of pilots, the need to pool available charter jets and aggressively coordinate their availability for maximum utilization has become paramount. In short, the Uber/Lyft model of travel-sharing has engulfed the jet charter industry as well, according to ex-banker Ashish Bhandari, and it’s a good thing. Not only does the pooling increase the use of the functional jets to as much as possible daily, the activity is also driving down the cost for participants like Ashish Bhandari, Dubai resident who engage and are willing to share a trip with others on the same jet.
Keep in mind, the typical charter jet flight is still quite convenient and comfortable; it’s not a cattle call economy trip like what one would have on a discount consumer flight provider in the main airports. Ashish Bhandari simply notes the need to fly charter jets in a smarter way has created a whole new market that is far more affordable and makes a lot more sense for the operators. And that, in turn, helps produce more charter flights for those who want them, Ashish Bhandari notes.
The pooling of charter jet travel is simply an evolution of the market, in Ashish Bhandari’s opinion. If the industry did not adapt, it may very well have likely died out from lack of sustainable usage and rising operational costs. The shift to a pooling model, from a Ashish Bhandari banker perspective, makes perfect sense.
Not only is the over-supply corrected and matched efficiently to the level of demand, the industry has the ability to grow again. And that means more jobs, more flights, more customers and a self-providing system resistant to economic downturns in the future. It’s the same kind of market resilience bankers like Ashish Bhandari like to see when considering the financing options of banking customers and clients seeking finance to grow further. Without this type of creativity, markets grow stagnant and companies begin to fail. So, the evolution to pooling for the charter jet business is likely to continue expanding nationally and internationally, reducing dedicated company fleets but definitely increasing charter jet availability overall.
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