As commercial airlines struggle to attract customers due to the coronavirus, the private jet industry is seeing a surge of demand from affluent travelers who want to minimize their chance of catching the respiratory virus from a crowd of strangers, FOX Business has learned.
This pandemic concern has led to enhanced cleaning procedures on aircraft across the board, but private jet company Jet Linx has set itself apart with its announcement that it will be using the antimicrobial BIOPROTECTUs System to sanitize its jets and terminals – a first in aviation industry.
The EPA-registered and FDA-compliant system provides long-term disinfection of bacteria, fungi, algae and mold, and has been confirmed to destroy viral materials on surfaces, such as SARS-CoV-2, by the Global Virus Network. The formulated disinfectant can provide residual surface protection against coronavirus for more than six weeks, according to research.
Every 90 days, Jet Linx cleans its 100-plus aircraft and terminals with BIOPROTECTUs. The company has also installed BIOPROTECT Hand Purifier dispensers on its fleet of jets and throughout its terminals so crew and clientele can remain healthy.
Jet Linx has received an uptick in sales due to the pandemic, according to the company’s president and CEO, Jaime Walker.
“Forty-five percent of our new sales have come from first-time private jet players,” Walker told FOX Business in a video call. “So we're seeing pretty significant movement from a new consumer base that's now sticking their toe in private jet travel to try and figure out how they can continue and resume their normal travel activity if they're uncomfortable still with the commercial airline activity.”
Customers who fly under Jet Linx’s Jet Card membership also get access to guaranteed aircraft availability, hourly round-trip and one-way rates as well as a local flight concierge team, among other perks that set it apart from commercial airlines. The starting membership price is $12,500 for the first year plus another few thousand dollars annually, according to Private Jet Card Comparisons.
Commercial airlines, on the other hand, are expected to lose around $84 billion in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to estimates from the International Air Transport Association. And that’s with major airlines notifying the public of current cleaning protocols – many of which include High-Efficiency Particulate Air filtration systems that meant to kill remove bacteria and viruses from recirculated air.
However, the filters are not a surface-level microbicide treatment that eradicates coronavirus long-term the same way BIOPROTECTUs has been recognized by the Global Virus Network.
Add in domestic travel restrictions that have been imposed by states to curb rebounding coronavirus infections, and the commercial airline industry has a long road to recovery.
There haven’t been more than one million fliers since March 16, according to checkpoint travel data from the Transportation Security Administration.