‘Uber of Private Jets’ Sees A Rise in Demand for KSA
In the first quarter of 2021, XO, an on-demand private aviation firm, reported a 298 per cent jump in membership from a year prior, fueled by an increase in demand for flights within Saudi Arabia.
XO has adopted the Uber business model and applied it to private jets, allowing its members to book private flights or individual seats on demand.
The company’s revenue and operations are mainly in the US, but it has experienced a 167 per cent year-over-year growth in global membership through the first three months this year.
Although XO’s press release did not break down the percentage growth for individual countries, it noted that “Saudi Arabia, as well as increased regional travel within Europe and Africa, supports XO’s ability to connect cities underserved by commercial flights.”
The company was founded in 2006 and is part of the Dubai-headquartered Vista Global Holding, which operates private jet services to 187 countries worldwide.
Saudi Arabia had grounded all flights in March 2020 in response to COVID-19. Domestic flights resumed in May 2020, and the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation recently announced that international flights would resume on May 17, 2021.
Online travel platform Skyscanner reports that the Kingdom saw an increase of 110 per cent from a month ago in March for people looking for flights. Last month, domestic flights within Saudi Arabia were the most searched for, followed by international destinations in India, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Egypt.