Travelling by private jet may just be a dream for many, but more travel operators are offering deals. Jeremy Gates reports.
We may have narrowly escaped a triple dip recession, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that we can afford to spend more on holidays. Unless you’re the super-rich, that is, and have a spare £50,000 lying around.
The only way to travel the world in style, avoiding the hassles of modern airports and budget airlines, is to splash out a small fortune on the luxurious leather seats of your own private jet.
Several operators are entering this sector; including Turquoise Holidays, which are offering packages from Bill Peach Journeys to Australia, and Abercrombie & Kent (A&K).
James Bell, founder and co-owner of Turquoise, which carries around 2,500 passengers a year paying an average £4,000 each, says: “The market is growing fast for once-in-a-lifetime holidays, especially among 50-plussers who never had the time when they were younger.
“With business or first class flights added on, this group often spends £10,000 each on very special holidays. Family bookings, every now and then, cost £100,000-plus.”
Bill Peach Journeys operates its first route to/from the UK in September: a ‘Passage through Ancient Cultures’ itinerary from London to Sydney takes in Dubrovnik, Aswan, Abu Dhabi, Udaipur, Agra, Luang Prabang, Da Nang, Hoi An, Sandakan, Lombok, Broome and Ayers Rock.
The average flight time of each stage of the journey is just two hours in the world’s best custom-designed luxury small jet aircraft, the Embraer 135LR, which carries a maximum 34 passengers.
Jan Musgrave, Bill Peach Journeys managing director, says: “We see changing demands and expectations among luxury travellers. Besides exquisite accommodation and service, travellers want authenticity and exploration and this new itinerary will exceed their expectations.”
The total cost of the holiday is £19,883, which includes entry fees, most visas, transfers and tips, and an economy flight back to London.
Meanwhile, tour operator Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) is taking bookings for a private jet safari in March 2014 for a maximum 40 guests paying £55,000 each. Stops include the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda, to see the gorillas, Ethiopia (for its ancient churches), Victoria Falls in Zambia by helicopter, Botswana, Namibia, food and wine in South Africa and a three-day safari in Tanzania’s Serengeti.
Geoffrey Kent, A&K’s founder and chief executive, plans to join stages of the 19-day, 5,000 mile journey.