London Christmas lockdown? No problem for wealthy Brits fleeing the city in private jets

As Londoners flocked to train stations over the weekend in a last-ditch effort to escape new lockdown restrictions, British high society shuttled over to London’s private jet terminals to board charter flights out of the country. 

Leaving the country was made more difficult as the rest of the world closed their borders to Britain amid news of a deadlier strain of the novel coronavirus.

Over 40 countries from Canada to Singapore, Argentina to Hong Kong have banned flights from the UK, the New York Times reports, or are requiring quarantines for inbound passengers. 

The new lockdown is expected to extend through the Christmas holiday, causing a mass exodus from the city before it became illegal to leave, as the BBC reported.

While the masses turned to cars, trains, commercial airliners, and busses to flee the city, those fortunate enough to do so turned to private aviation firms, who’ve said they’ve seen an increase in UK bookings from the weekend.

Mark Briffa, the CEO of the global aircraft charter firm Air Partner, said there was a surge in demand for its services in the past few days as wealthy individuals seek ways to circumvent the restrictions.

“This includes private jets for individuals and families, as well as businesses wanting to charter larger aircraft so they can urgently fly employees home for Christmas after commercial flights have been canceled.”

UK under virtual quarantine

Ultimately, this is a continuation of the trend we have seen throughout 2020 of many people turning to us to enable them to travel in a reliable and safe manner in these disrupted and uncertain times,” continued Briffa.

Britain is under a virtual quarantine after dozens of countries shut down flights to and from the UK due to a new strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus identified in England.

The British government announced Saturday that contrary to its promises, there will be no relaxation of social distancing rules for Christmas because the new strain appears to be more infectious, and is “running out of control.”

Other nations thought it was prudent to put travel to the island nation on pause, but the restrictions do not apply to charter flights.

Demand was on the rise even before last week’s announcement, as businesses wanted to have freight capacity reserves for a possible no-deal Brexit at the end of the year.

Lockdowns have bolstered private aviation travel as the wealthy are willing to shell out tens of thousands of pounds for safe passage away from the hardships at home.

And while it’s helped to keep the private aviation industry afloat, it’s also highlighted a division in how the wealthy are thriving during the pandemic in luxury while everyday people struggle through it.

People who cannot afford a five-figure sum for a quick jump across the English Channel sarcastically noted on Twitter how simpler the lives of the well-off are.