The ultra-rich in the US have rented private jets from UK-listed Air Partner to take their vacations at a rate high enough to offset the company’s decline in business travelers.

ir partner said bookings in the US were higher for the first six months of the year than before the pandemic.

The strong demand from wealthy private travelers offset the decline in business travel.

However, the situation is different in Europe, where activity “remains limited”, Air Partner said in an update to shareholders on Friday.

Shares rose 7.8% on Friday morning after the update, which also revealed that the company expects to confirm it had posted underlying pre-tax profit of £ 3.7 million in the six months to the end of July.

Bosses informed shareholders that the business “continues to trade strongly despite the travel restrictions and general uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic”.

They added, “We continue to see a strong recovery in our private jet business. The UK exceeded pre-Covid levels in the summer months as we welcomed a number of first-time private jets and in addition to increased demand from many of our existing customers. “

The company operates a private jet ticket that customers can use to top up their cards in a manner similar to how public transport users can top up an Oyster card in London.

Customers buy flight lessons on their card and can then book a private jet just one day in advance and use the hours they have accumulated.

Air Partner said the cards performed well in the first half of the fiscal year. Compared to the same period last year, bookings worldwide increased by 46% and the number of new members increased by 71%.

Deposits on the cards have also increased a total of 130% compared to the previous year, added Air Partner.

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