Demand for charter flights including private jets costing up to $50,000 a trip is mounting as people rush to get out of Israel, the CEO of a Switzerland-based LunaJets told Reuters on Friday, Oct. 13.
Deadly attacks on Israel by Hamas militants have been followed by Israeli retaliatory bombardment on Gaza and a build-up of tanks around its border. Some governments such as the United States, France and Germany are evacuating citizens by charter flights but some planes are full and others have been cancelled as airlines wrestle with the risks.
“They are all immediate requests. We need to go, we need to get out. It’s not about, you know, I’m ready to fly at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. It’s how soon can we go?” Eymeric Segard, CEO and founder of private jet broker LunaJets, told Reuters.
Often passengers are not worried about any particular destination, saying only somewhere in central Europe. “They just say: ‘Take me out’,” he said.
In a typical week, the Geneva-based firm would operate one or possibly two Tel Aviv charter flights but it plans 10 this week carrying some 500 passengers, he said, including to destinations like Paris, Dubai and Geneva. The firm has also had flight requests out of Amman, Jordan, and Beirut, Lebanon.
“People are unsettled,” he said.
LunaJets and related company Luna Group Charter were involved in Afghanistan evacuations after the Taliban takeover in 2021 and also brought in aid after Morocco’s earthquake last month.
“We have this expertise and that’s what’s helping us to make these flights happen and happen quickly,” Segard said.
Prices for a six- to eight-seat private jet out of Tel Aviv – about $40,000 to Dubai and $50,000 to Europe – are about 5-10% higher than during normal times – a cost Segard said was justified by the war insurance operators sometimes ask for and other difficulties, like finding an aircraft or getting permits.
This article was provided by Reuters.