NEW SERVICES RESHAPE THE MARKET: Driven by demand from corporations and businessmen, charters and flight-sharing services are on the rise across the Americas in the dynamic business aviation segment.

Author:Zbar, Jiff

Latin America and the Caribbean are home base for some 685 business aircraft. Brisk expansion is forecast for business aviation today: the region's fleet will nearly double, adding about 650 aircraft, by 2026.

Methods of fleet use are also changing rapidly. While some companies and executives seek to own their own fleets, operators of private jet charters and individual fleets are transforming the usage model. Clients are charged only for the routes they take, paying on average $15,000 an hour and avoiding fees for return flights or downtime between legs.

Insiders call Latin America's aviation industry "very promising", as Max Brog, CEO, South American Jets, wrote in a recent opinion piece.

The industry's annual 5.6% growth rate surpasses global figures, leading to a need to double or triple the fleet size in the next two decades to meet expected demand, especially in aviation growth hot spots, such as Santiago de Chile, Mexico City, Cancun, Panama City, Bogota, Rio de Janeiro, and Lima.

Taken together, traditional and new private aviation models make up a sector valued at $14 billion in Latin America.

Some airports are preparing to receive more international flights. In Southeastern Florida, the Boca Raton Airport Authority is in the midst of a $20 million improvement initiative. This includes an onsite Customs and Border Protection facility, which will allow international flights to land in southern Palm Beach County and avoid congestion at the region's three other international airports.

The demand for private aviation is generally driven by several factors, said Doug Gollan, founder and editor-in-chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons, a buyer's guide website comparing more than 100 private jet membership programs.

Moreover, globalization of business and faster turnover in C-suite assignments for executives foster more adjustable options. Executives typically exit a post in five years or less, so fewer are willing to relocate their families to the corporate headquarters.

At the same time, companies have expanded regionally or globally and have more divisions abroad. "So there might be less demand to have a fleet of company jets based in one place...

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