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Tue 27 Nov 2007 04:00 AM

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The new ‘Jetrosexual’ generation

Luxury air travel is about to reach new heights as it becomes governed less by the desire for grandeur and more by the need to save time, have fun and seek out-of-the world experiences.

The new ‘Jetrosexual’ generation
The new ‘Jetrosexual’ generation
Royal Jet suggests using its new Learjet 45 aircraft for whirlwind day shopping trips.ound the Gulf.

The luxury travel market is currently witnessing exponential growth as disposable incomes in developed countries rocket and the middle and upper classes in developing nations with booming economies start to realise their travelling potential.

Opportunities for premium travel are escalating, with airlines opening new routes and hotels opening top end properties worldwide, nowhere more so than in the Middle East, while new luxury destinations are emerging as they rapidly develop their tourism infrastructures.

You can call them the ‘Jetrosexual’ generation — where flying will involve casinos, nightclubs, bars and spas.

As these developments take shape, the luxury traveller is becoming more demanding. They are cash rich, but time poor, and demand time saving solutions, convenience and an authentic experience.

International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) recently surveyed around 1600 VIP buyers who cited their key challenge as "staying ahead of clients' desire for the next and newest destination".

Buyers also revealed that there were no limits on clients' demands and expectations with their requirements getting increasingly extraordinary.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the aviation world, which has had to adapt rapidly to luxury travellers' wants and needs.

The industry is therefore witnessing a trend towards space travel, all-business class flights, private charters and the reinvention of flying for pleasure with new long-range aircraft, the Boeing Dreamliner and the giant Airbus 380.

Deputy chairman of The Ritz London, Andrew Love, said his guests were increasingly opting to fly in on private charters to the smaller airports in the UK, saving them time and hassle.

"Essentially, luxury is now about personal time savings as people no longer have time to enjoy the grandeur of travel; this is the greatest change in the market," he remarked.

Saving time and convenience are essential to the offering at all-business class carrier Silverjet, which will fly between Dubai and London Luton from November 19.

Check-in is just 30 minutes before departure without luggage for the hold and only 45 minutes for passengers with luggage to check in.

Passengers have the option of eating their meals before, during or after the flight, so they can maximise their time sleeping or working while flying between London and Dubai or London and New York.

This is made possible by the carrier's private terminals at Luton, Newark and Dubai (Executive Flight Services).

In addition there's a chauffeur service, porter and concierge to check you in.

"It's much more akin to arriving at a five-star hotel than at an airport," the carrier's chief of staff and international development, Katherine Gershon, told Luxury Travel News.

ILTM's co-founder Serge Dive believes a new jet-setting generation is about to emerge, triggered by the introduction of the A380, which will "re-sex" the business of flying.

"You can call them the ‘Jetrosexual generation'- where flying will involve casinos, nightclubs, bars and spas," he projected.

More prosaically, private air travel is beginning to boom worldwide, with ILTM studies revealing a 6.8% rise in this region in the past year, while America's Federal Aviation Authority predicts a 300% increase in private jet journeys in the next 10 years.

AirGuideonline.com recently reported a five-fold increase in private jet operators worldwide in five years, with prices declining to an average of US $2200 an hour in many areas, while operators such as Royal Jet are demonstrating their capabilities in this region.
The carrier recently strengthened its product offer with the acquisition of two twin-engine Learjet 45 aircraft, each capable of flying for up to four hours non-stop making intra-regional travel a cinch.

Royal Jet president and chief executive Shan O'Hare said the new aircraft would prove popular for same-day travel and would also serve demand for luxury travel to Hajj and Umrah.

"The aircraft can be booked and ready to leave within two hours of a client's request," he said.

O'Hare also suggested using the aircraft for a whirlwind shopping trip between Dubai, Bahrain, Riyadh and Kuwait - in a single day.

The popularity of private jets and all-business class carriers amongst top end travellers has enticed "integrated luxury transport provider" Avolus to enter the Dubai market next month (December).

Its aim is "to offer seamless private travel and standardised global rates through partnerships and sophisticated itinerary planning technology", according to managing director Alexis Grabar.

"Initially we focused on the UK, then Russia from where the top three destinations were London, south of France and Dubai," he said.

"After assessing the market here, we decided to open up to build our network of partnerships and develop the right solutions for travellers, working both with the travel trade and individuals."

Setting its sights even higher, Virgin Galactic and several other consortia are aiming to make space travel a reality within two years.

Savvy UAE travel company Sharaf Travel & Tourism Group, the GSA for Virgin Atlantic, seized the opportunity to become the accredited space office for Virgin Galactic earlier this year and has witnessed a strong market response according to head of space marketing Sharon Garrett.

"We have already generated sales in the region; both ex-pats and Arabs, males and females, and it is appealing on many levels. To space enthusiasts, those where money is no object and those that will mortgage everything for an adrenalin kick like this," she said.

In addition, individual charter flights are now on sale and Garrett said there had been serious interest from corporate business for the ultimate incentive - at $1.2 million, a mere snip.

IATA’s premium traffic monitorPremium air traffic grew by 1% in July down from 1.9% in June, according to the latest IATA statistics.

A sharp fall in premium traffic within Europe dampened the overall figures, but excluding these routes, premium traffic volume growth was a much higher 5.1% in July.

Growth rates slowed on the important long-haul routes across the North Atlantic and Europe-Far East, but this was partly offset by higher growth on Trans-Pacific and intra-Far East routes.

There are signs that despite a relatively low rate of overall traffic growth, the increase in premium traffic revenues is still strong.

The decline in premium traffic on routes within Europe has less of an impact on the revenue side where it accounts for just over 10% of total premium revenues.

Premium traffic revenues grew by an estimated 3.2% in July, down from 5.4% in June, but still well above the rate of volume growth.

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