Italy extends travel restrictions in effort to contain virus’s spread
Airlines are still digesting the implications of President Donald Trump’s restrictions on travel from Europe but some wealthy Americans are already looking for ways to get home quickly.
The private jet industry has received a surge in inquiries from Americans currently in Europe, even as operators themselves scramble to clarify how the travel ban will impact their own operations.
“This situation is unprecedented,” said Adam Twidell, chief executive officer of private jet charter provider PrivateFly. “We’re seeing a significant number of requests in the past few hours from Americans currently in Europe, looking to fly back to the U.S. And others from U.S. citizens wanting to fly from other parts of Europe to the U.K., as it is currently exempt from the ban.”
Trump said Wednesday that he will significantly restrict travel from Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days.
“The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hot spots,” the president said in a televised address. “As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe.”
The development is expected to boost demand for private aircraft among individuals even as corporate jet travel tumbles, with companies restricting travel to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The precise impact on transatlantic airline schedules isn’t clear and the restriction doesn’t apply to legal permanent residents and immediate family members of U.S. citizens. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement that U.S. citizens arriving from Europe will travel through specific airports where they can undergo screening for the virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also raised its travel warning for Europe, advising Americans to avoid nonessential travel to certain countries.
“Travelers returning from the specified countries in Europe must stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health and practice social distancing,” the CDC said in a statement on its website.
While private jets still have to adhere to these restrictions and immigration rules, they’re better able to navigate disruptions than commercial jet operators.
“Private jets are still flying,” said Toby Edwards, a managing director at charter company Victor. “U.S. citizens are allowed to return to the U.S. and those who have not passed through a Schengen country in the 14 days prior to entry into the U.S. are also currently permitted.”
For those who meet the requirements -- and can afford the extra expense -- private jets offer the quickest way to the U.S. The cost to charter a long- range jet such as a Dassault Falcon 7X or a Bombardier Global to New York from Paris one-way would be about US$90,000, according to PrivateFly.
“Overall the inquiries we’re getting are from people very concerned to get their families back together as soon as possible, given how rapidly the situation is developing,” Twidell said. “One client is flying his daughter home to the U.S. from university in France, and several of her fellow students -- who are also U.S. citizens -- are sharing the flight back with her.”