What do billionaires need when they travel? Airbus report reveals some interesting demands
Billionaires have four unique travel “needs,” according to a recent Airbus study, which it contracted out to better compete against Boeing to sell such people more personal jets.
Airbus sells personal versions of its jetliners through the Airbus Corporate Jet division, a direct competitor to Boeing Business Jets.
The four needs? "Flexibility, privacy, familiarity and tailored experiences," the Airbus report says.
“The need for privacy is a key driver of private jet use,” said the report, adding that the many billionaires want to have their needs taken care of for them when they travel.
“Many billionaires will require their own personal staff to wait on them throughout the flight,” the study said. “Larger entourages of a billionaire’s staff means that there is a need to transport and house larger groups.”
The 28-page report, done by Ledbury Research in London, was accomplished through research into 250 billionaires in China, the Middle East and Russia, complemented by interviews with 25 billionaires.
Boeing has no such study.
"Boeing Business Jet is always communicating with customers; we don’t need a survey to tell us what they require," said Boeing Business Jet spokewoman Karen Crabtree, in response to a query.
The study says the billionaires share these characteristics: “highly determined, invariably very smart, and always service-oriented.” This means, the study said, that they travel like they live. “When billionaires travel, they want to retain the ability to have whatever they want, as they do at home,” one interviewee said. “They are used to living in a certain way, and they want to continue to do that wherever they are.”
The study focused on markets outside the United States, noting that China is expected to surpass 1,000 billionaires by 2017, for the first time nearly equaling the number in the United States. Dallas-Fort Worth is home to 25 billionaires.
So popular are personal versions of Boeing’s 747-8i, the company’s largest aircraft, that they currently make up a substantial portion of Boeing’s remaining backlog for the model.
The Airbus studies makes some interesting generalizations: Russians are more apt to make their wealth more visible than their counterparts in China or the Middle East.
Private jets aren’t quite the status symbol that megayachts are, simply because they’re less likely to be noticed up by media. “The selection has less to do with showing off, since jets are seen as ‘by invitation only,’ the Airbus study said. “Middle East billionaires are the most likely to have status in mind when buying a private jet.”
The study also concludes that younger billionaires are more likely to spend, while older billionaires more likely to preserve.
“Those new to wealth are generally more impulsive, but over time they become more discerning,” the Airbus report says.
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