Looks Like Clear Skies For 2024 Travel—And Bizjet Travel In Particular

“The travel and hospitality industry has surged back.”

The March 2024 jobs report showed continued resiliency in the U.S. economy, with more than 300,000 workers added to the payrolls. Many of those jobs are in the leisure and hospitality sector—and, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “fun” industry has bounced back to its pre-pandemic employment level. 

Global tourism jumped in 2023, accounting for $1.9 trillion in receipts—strong, yet still short of 2019’s $2.2 trillion, according to Statista. But here comes 2024: This year, global travel is projected to hit $2 trillion. It took four years since the dog days of the pandemic to see these kinds of healthy dollar figures, but they're here and they're real.

These new numbers reinforce a survey commissioned by Forbes that showed that post-COVID, pent-up demand for travel has not abated: 52% of consumers said they plan to travel the same amount as they did in 2023—a while another 40% of respondents expect to travel even more. Very few people appear to be sitting out 2024: only 6% said they’d be traveling less, with 3% unsure.

How does this translate to interest in private air? There’s little to suggest that Honeywell’s prediction at the end of 2023 will be disturbed: The aerospace company projected that the next decade will be very good to the bizjet industry, anticipating 8,500 new private aircraft deliveries from 2024 to 2033.

Doug Gollan, founder and president of Private Jet Card Comparisons, sees a more nuanced picture: “While interest in private flying is strong, and the travel and hospitality industry has surged back, it’s fighting headwinds," he said. "While prices for jet cards held steady in Q1, and are down 7.5% from the end of 2022, they are still 22.6% higher than before COVID."

As Gollan sees it, the flight to service continues to propel the bizjet sector. “The biggest tailwind for private aviation is the airlines, with delays and poor service,” he explained. “One sweet spot I am seeing for private aviation is family travel. I have Private Jet Card Comparisons members telling me it’s impossible to find four or five first class or business class seats on the same flight, especially within North America— plus, while private flying is more expensive, so are the airlines.”

Leona Qi, president of VistaJet U.S., is optimistic. The two-decade-old private aviation company ended 2023 in debt, but robust interest in flying private may act as a counterbalance. “Our program clients entrust us with a 3-year commitment, which gives us fantastic long-term visibility on both service needs and revenue flow,” Qi said. “This past year was a banner year for flights. VistaJet operated 18% more, year-over-year, and 80% up against pre-pandemic levels, and that momentum is only going to continue in 2024.”