Interest in private jet flights to Hong Kong takes off after hotel quarantine lifted and mega events return

Interest in chartering private planes to Hong Kong has increased ahead of its financial leaders summit this week, according to an operator, who says extra staff are ready to evacuate any visiting bankers whose test is positive for Covid-19, but prices may exceed US$350,000.

Jolie Howard, CEO of Hong Kong-based jet charter service L’VOYAGE, said the industry had also benefited from the government’s decision to scrap its mandatory hotel quarantine policy last month ahead of a number major and high-profile events, including the Global Financial Leaders Investment Summit.

Any big-power bankers who contracted Covid-19 while in the city could be airlifted, with trips to London and New York costing at least US$230,000 and US$350,000 respectively, a Howard said. Although no planes are on standby, planes could be rented at the last minute, she explained.

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“We will dedicate a team to operate 24/7 to meet these needs,” she said.

The option for foreign Covid-positive participants to leave the city by private plane was part of the current measures for people with special circumstances, such as attending the three-day summit, organized by the city’s Monetary Authority and which starts Tuesday.

Howard said his company was also handling more inquiries from banking professionals ahead of the high-profile event, adding that general interest in booking private planes had increased since the government scrapped its hotel quarantine requirement on September 26 in favor of a three-day home surveillance. period.

According to the company, a one-way flight from Hong Kong to New York in a heavy jet would cost US$350,000 or more, depending on the type of plane and the number of passengers.

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Similar flights to London would cost as much as $230,000, he added.

Meanwhile, Howard said some senior company executives may choose to fly to neighboring countries with less stringent restrictions if they contract the virus.

A one-way flight from Hong Kong to Singapore would cost between $53,000 and $78,000, while flights to Bangkok cost between $45,000 and $65,000, the company said.

The final cost would also depend on the size of the chartered plane, which ranged from mid-size to super-mid-size, he added, with planes such as the 12-seat Cessna Citation Excel and the Bombardier Challenger 850 19 seats available for flights. to neighboring countries.

The Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre, which operates an industry support facility, said air traffic at its facilities had doubled since the government’s “0+3” policy was launched last month.

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But the company, which operated 9,000 flights for 40,000 travelers in 2019, refrained from providing figures. He added that he believed more planes and passengers would return with the further easing of travel restrictions from Hong Kong.

A check by post revealed that several private jets had flown into the city from destinations including Edinburgh, Zurich, Tokyo and Seoul.

Among those registered was a Gulfstream G650 plane belonging to JP Morgan Chase, which arrived in the city on Saturday from Tokyo. Composed of three living spaces, the aircraft can carry up to 19 passengers.

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A private Bombardier Global 7500 was also registered, arriving from Edinburgh in the afternoon of the same day. According to its manufacturer, the plane can also accommodate up to 19 passengers and has amenities such as a 40-inch 4K home theater surround sound setup.

Separately, the Four Seasons hotel, which will host a half-day conference on Wednesday as part of the summit, said its Imperial and Presidential suites are available for event attendees through direct booking.

According to the hotel, a one-night stay in its Imperial Suite costs HK$98,000 (US$12,484), while the Presidential Suite costs HK$108,000 per night.

Hong Kong is hosting FinTech Week until Friday when the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens competition kicks off. The popular tournament was last held in 2019 and has been delayed five times in the past two years due to the pandemic.

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