The travel industry is one of the most widely affected sectors owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. From the time the health scare was identified, even up to now, the industry has struggled to cope. It hasn’t even fully recovered from the massive impact COVID-19 has had on multiple businesses.
This financial repercussion is felt across the globe, all the more so since the World Health Organization has implemented travel restrictions in certain areas. It seems there’s no quick end to the pandemic, and circumstances are still not as good with a new virus variant popping up.
The Evolution of the Omicron Variant
The Coronavirus-19 strain that caused the global scare was an entirely new virus scientist discovered last year. True, the family of coronaviruses has been around for quite some time already. Still, it was only recently that it spread to humans. Animals were their primary targets, yet somehow the virus found its way to the human population and was later labeled SARS-CoV-2.
Not much was previously recorded on this variant, so it was hard to keep its spread under control. In short, it was only a matter of time before it evolved to other variants, like the COVID Delta virus and the latest Omicron variant.
At first, the Omicron variant was greatly feared by many for its unknown health impacts on the individual affected. Like the Delta virus, Omicron originated from the original COVID-19 strain, and people were hoping for a vaccine for this. No such vaccine has yet been introduced, so governments had no choice but to restrict entry to areas where the variant was detected.
Commercial travel feeling the covid effects
The airline sector reports maximum losses in its total generated revenue in the last couple of years alone. Total losses were estimated to be as much as 60% compared to previous years. These devastating figures won’t recover anytime soon. Reports say 2024 would be the projected period for the industry to somehow make up for the lost sales.
Financial concerns aside, COVID-19 has made many airline employees redundant. Job losses are one of the most felt effects of a business slowdown. In worse cases, whole companies had to permanently shut down their operations. All of these have contributed to an overall negative feeling in the aviation industry.
The existence of the COVID-19 virus and all its variants will also lead to stricter security protocols on flights. Moreover, hygiene standards are double what they used to be, and consumer behavior has drastically changed.
South Africa travel restrictions
When news of the Omicron variant being present in South Africa first broke out, health experts expressed a vital concern for public safety. Though this mutated form has yet to be studied on a microscopic level, public health officials are taking action fast. They have deemed it best to control travel into and out of this territory.
Most airlines with flights entering and leaving South Africa are now changing their protocols in line with the recent news of the nationwide Omicron outbreak. Even though initial reports say that this variant is not as deadly as the previous mutations, it’s safe to say there are still numerous uncertainties on the matter.
However, one thing that’s for sure about Omicron is that it spreads even faster than previous mutations. It’s responsible for the surge in hospital cases, particularly in Gauteng province, the region most hit by the variant. As such, a widespread international travel ban has been imposed. This means passengers departing from South Africa are not welcome on commercial flights and are flagged as high-risk.
Private Aviation is the New Trend
So with the commercial airlines closing their doors on passengers wanting to leave South Africa, what other option is there? This is where private jet charters come into play.
Those who can afford to shell out exorbitant fees just to leave South Africa can do so with the help of private jet companies. The wealthy classes are going to other destinations of choice using private jet charters. In fact, such is the demand that private aircraft charter brokerages say their inquiries on their trips has more than quadrupled.
Surprisingly, the top destination of choice for these wealthy travelers wasn’t the United States of America. Instead, they preferred to fly to countries strictly enforcing travel restrictions, such as Australia, the UK, and New Zealand. For those who give only short notice to far-flung destinations, two aircraft units are recommended for non-stop, long-range travel: Bombardier Global 7500 and Gulfstream G650ER.
Bombardier Global 7500
This business jet model can cover 14,300 km in utmost comfort within its four-zone cabin. It boasts high-end service and is suited for high-net-worth individuals who like to travel in extreme luxury and style. This jet is, by far, the roomiest and can travel very long distances with no need for refueling stopovers. It’s perfect for those departing from South African cities and planning to move to faraway regions.
Gulfstream G650 ER
Gulfstream Aerospace, the company behind the Gulfstream G650, is proud to show its G650 model. The G650 can cover up to 13,000 km and is well-known for its entertainment features and fully-equipped kitchen and bar. Its remarkable appearance and advanced aircraft performance are only two reasons why the elite class travel this way. What better way to splurge on flying than to go via the Gulfstream G650?
The negative impacts of the Omicron pandemic cannot be overstated enough. The commercial aviation industry is one of those sectors hit the hardest, for a fact. Yet, now that airline industries are regaining control over their businesses, a new wave of the virus has appeared: the Omicron variant.
The recent detection of the Omicron virus is predicted to have long-term effects on travel to particular areas, particularly in South Africa. That’s why commercial travel is currently laying low on flights leaving the affected region. This has paved the way for private jets to become in demand, regardless of the cost to the passenger. The bottom line: private aviation is expected to surge for the next few months, to say the least.