The freedom and versatility you experience when flying private is something very special. Along with skipping long airport queues, you’re also able to access a range of far-flung destinations, granting you a wider variety of unique travel experiences.
From ultra-exclusive private islands to isolated, historic frontier towns, private jet travel is booming. In fact, 2021 saw flight hours on private jets increase to their highest level in seven years. According to Statista, the expanding business jet market is predicted to grow to approximately A$58.5 billion by 2028.
At first, private legs were necessitated by travel restrictions, but the convenience and luxury of flying private proved to make a strong case for many to swap their business-class seats in for private charter flights. Of course, many high net-worth individuals have jumped on the bandwagon, conveniently chartering their own aircraft while not in use, supplying an increasing demand for private air travel.
Private jet charter companies such as GlobeAir, Surf Air and Airly are seeing a huge surge in business and are expanding their capacity to meet this growing demand from all over the world.
While many top-tier destinations are more easily accessed by private jet, visitors are often impressed not only by the exotic locales but by their remoteness, beauty and exclusivity.
St Barts, the Caribbean
Much of the allure of this French-speaking Caribbean island is down to its relative inaccessibility and by arriving in a private jet, you’ll get to experience just why it’s one of the last true island paradises in the region.
The first taste of the stunningly beautiful island’s beaches you’ll get is during the thrilling landing on a very small airfield, located just a few metres from the island’s famously white sand. The relatively small area of land on St Barts is covered with thick tropical jungle and dotted with quaint villas and condos.
The island is home to some of the most picturesque and luxurious resorts you will find in the Caribbean, including the five-star Cheval Blanc St-Barth. There are very often very large mega yachts moored in the bays and the island is home to a vibrant artistic community.
After spending a long time isolated from the rest of the world, Bhutan is now becoming a destination for travellers who are looking for some spiritual enlightenment. The predominantly Buddhist country is home to a vibrant culture and amazing traditional architecture and landscapes, with temples, monuments and museums often perched precariously on cliffsides.
Bhutan’s only international airport has just one asphalt runway and is considered one of the most challenging airports. Set within a deep valley, the airport is located very close to a stunningly beautiful monastery, Paro Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest, a sacred Vajrayana Himalayan Buddhist site. Trekking, meditation and even white water rafting is possible in Bhutan and made all the more memorable by the mighty Himalayan mountain range which provides a dramatic backdrop.
Mountain safaris will give you a glimpse of the unique biodiversity of Bhutan. Wild horses, monkeys, black bears, yak, wolves, blue sheep, elephants, tigers, snow leopards, red pandas and the unique takin can all be observed in their natural environments. The Bhutanese take a lot of pride in being fine archers and tourists can easily learn how to use a Bhutanese bow and arrow in the country, the sport featuring prominently in colourful Bhutanese festivals.
Historic Telluride is accessible by its relatively small regional airport and due to its size has become the premiere mountain destination for those looking to escape the hordes of tourists at other ski towns in Colorado such as Aspen. Oprah Winfrey, Ralph Lauren, Tom Cruise and Robert Redford have all been spotted here and many celebrities own winter holiday homes in Telluride’s alpine hillsides.
A rich history as a frontier silver mining town meant that its core area was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1964. It is only six by eight blocks in size but provides visitors with a cosy selection of Victorian-era houses, clapboard storefronts, boutiques, art galleries and gourmet restaurants.
Of course, skiing is a very popular pastime for residents and visitors. The Mountain Village is perched above the valley floor at 2,895 metres altitude. The European-style village accesses 849 hectares of aspen and spruce-covered ski fields, catering to skiers of all abilities.
Velaa Private Island, the Maldives
Velaa means “turtle” in the local Dhivehi language and once you see it, it’s not hard to see why. It rises out of impossibly turquoise waters and is surrounded by a house reef that is teeming with vibrant sea life such as fish, rays and small sharks.
Everything about Velaa Private Island resort is designed with guests in mind. Each private villa has its very own butler on hand around the clock to make you feel comfortable and help you enjoy the island’s luxe facilities. A climbing wall, covered squash, paddle tennis and tennis courts make Velaa the Maldives’ number-one destination for a private luxury getaway.
For those arriving in this ultra-luxurious destination by private jet, the island is a 35-minute ferry ride from Maafaru International Airport, just 25 kilometres away. Or, Velaa Private Island guests can take a 45-minute scenic seaplane ride to the exclusive island paradise.
Of the 47 villas on Velaa, 18 are overwater, but all are stunning examples of sustainable island living, featuring palettes of rattan and tropical wood complimented by vaulted ceilings, open air bathrooms and private pools.
St Moritz, Switzerland
If you have been to Switzerland, you’ll understand just why it’s worth taking a private jet to find your very own slice of its stunning landscape. Steeped in history and famous for its classical beauty, the country is home to the most exclusive ski resorts in the world. Not only is the stunning ski destination frequented by the famous, but it’s also been a second home to some of the most wealthy individuals of the 20th century including Giovanni Agnelli, Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos.
A full calendar of year-round activities makes St Moritz perfect for those that like to stay active, hosting a huge range of sporting events. Watch the horses kick up powder as they gallop and whinny during an exciting game of snow polo, or enjoy a hot beverage as you watch a bobsled careen past. St Moritz has hosted the winter Olympics on two occasions and retains its crown as Europe’s winter sport capital.
Nearby Samedan Airport is a short 10-minute drive from the town and the private jets of wealthy residents use it frequently. Architecture in the town is often a dramatic departure from traditional Engadin-style houses seen in surrounding villages and ranges from fairytale castles to works by some of the most famous architects ever, such as Lord Norman Foster and Oscar Niemeyer.
For a taste of the type of remote destinations offered by private jet travel, chartering a superyacht is another popular option. Heli-skiing is an exclusive experience that can involve taking off in a helicopter from the deck of a superyacht and skiing down untouched mountainsides in places like Antarctica, New Zealand and Hokkaido.