Come fly with me

By Andrew Shirley.

The world’s wealthy are increasingly using private jets to ensure they can travel conveniently and discretely, both for pleasure and business. The Wealth Report Editor Andrew Shirley looks at the latest Spanish private aviation trends

According to data from industry analyst JETNET, there are now almost 21,000 private jets flying across the globe, an increase of 44% over the past 10 years. The growth of jet ownership in Spain has followed this pattern, with the number of planes rising by 41% over the same period.

However, in terms of numbers, ownership levels in the country are relatively low. The 106 jets based in Spain means it only just scrapes into the top 25 list of countries with the most jets. Unsurprisingly, the US has the most jets – 12,090 of them – while Germany and the UK with 386 and 318, respectively, are the European leaders.

Perhaps more surprisingly other Spanish-speaking countries also have far higher levels of ownership. Mexico is second behind the US with 942 jets, while even economically struggling Venezuela can boast 341 of them. The risk of kidnapping in Latin America may go some way to explaining why the wealthy are so keen on using private aviation.

Flight spotting

So where in Spain are all these jets flying to and where are they coming from? Using data provided by analyst WING-X, we’ve crunched the numbers to provide some answers.

In 2016 there were about 40 airports across mainland Spain and the Balearics that saw private jet landings, but there are five that standout with significantly higher levels of take offs and arrivals.

Unsurprisingly, the capital, Madrid, saw the most overall traffic in 2016 with almost a quarter of total flights, but popular second-home locations Ibiza, Mallorca and Malaga were not far behind, despite their size. Highlighting its growing popularity with international high-net-worth individuals, Ibiza saw the fastest rate of growth in private jet traffic (+34%) over the past five years.

If we look at the proportion of direct flights to each airport that come from Spain or overseas, this international dimension is enhanced further. While 30% of the private jet traffic to and from Madrid is domestic, only 11% of flights landing or taking off from Malaga are connecting to another Spanish airport. Malaga also welcomed private jets from 90 countries in 2016, only just behind the 105 connected to Madrid.


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