During the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, in January this year, about 1,700 private jets were used to ferry Heads of States, CEOs and other important personalities
The 2014 FIFA World Cup football held in Brazil for a month saw a flurry of aviation activity, particularly business aviation. During the World Cup, there were 2,839 aircraft from domestic locations that were granted 21,537 slots and 635 international aircraft that were granted 1,518 slots. It certainly was a peak for business aviation.
And recently, a much smaller event, but of significant import, annual meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, in January this year, during the course of one week, saw about 1,700 private jets flying in and out of Davos. That is a really power-packed event where top heads of states, top company CEOs and intellectuals gather to discuss climate change and global warming, among other economic issues. More than 2,500 business leaders and 40 Heads of State or Government attended the meeting.
The skies above Switzerland had small but luxurious aircraft zooming past the scenic country. There was a five per cent increase from last year in the number of business aviation movements. At the meeting of the World Economic Forum last year, 500 people travelled by helicopters to the event from Zurich airport, a total of 20 per cent of the entire audience, as trains and cars become the less favoured option. Anticipating the traffic to be heavy, the Swiss authorities opened up the Duebendorf military airbase during the course of the meeting of the World Economic Forum.
With limited parking for business aviation aircraft and a restrictive slot allocation system at the main Zurich Kloten Airport, ExecuJet secured an exclusive agreement with Dübendorf Airport (LSMD), the military-owned airport located just five nautical miles North of Zurich to park additional aircraft during this busy period. Zurich airport handled the most of the incoming private jets with around 60 aircraft getting guaranteed space.
In an interview to MailOnline Travel, CEO of PrivateFly, the global private jet booking service, said, “We have booked a total of 20 flights to Davos for a variety of clients. For one client, we managed to book an empty leg on one of our flights. We already have a client booked to fly back from Zurich. The Citation XL aircraft needed to reposition back from London to Zurich the following morning, so another client flying in to Davos on day two was able to book the empty leg for just £3,000.At the other end of the scale, we have some large body, long range jets flying in, such as a flight from Paris Le Bourget to Zurich in a 14-seater Global Express XRS for around £18,500 (€24,000) return.” The private jet rates were in the region of $10,000 to $20,000 per hour, while some operators offered additional services such as chopper rides to Davos from Zurich and other major Swiss cities”.
Zurich airport handled the bulk of business aviation traffic with St Gallen Airport and Samedan St Moritz Airport also handling an increased number of flights for the event.
While Davos attracts people from all around the world, in 2014 over half the total private jet arrivals came from France, the UK, Switzerland and Germany. About six per cent of total arrivals came from the US, while Saudi Arabia and the UAE were the only countries outside of Europe with five or more arriving private jet flights. In 2014, ultra-long-range business jets dominated with a total of 410 movements, while there was an additional 387 heavy jet movements and 137 corporate airliner movements in total. Of those jets, Cessna’s Citation XLS and Dassault’s Falcon 7X were the most-used private aircraft during the week.