Stranded Travelers Turn to Private Jets

Demand for piston-engined aircraft able to enter no-fly zone soars
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2010 5:25 AM CDT
Stranded Travelers Turn to Private Jets
Single engine light aircraft, and birds, own the skies over the main runway usually used by heavy aircraft at Stockholm airport.   (AP Photo/Scanpix, Johan Nilsson)

Private jet firms have found a silver lining in the cloud of ash belching out of that Icelandic volcano as desperate—and wealthy—travelers try to reach their destinations at any cost. Adam Twidell, CEO of jet-hire firm PrivateFly, says that while pilots can't be bribed to breach the no-fly zone in regular jets, as a group of corporate lawyers trying to reach France tried to do, older aircraft with piston-powered engines aren't affected by the ban and are in high demand.

"The aircraft we couldn’t sell to anybody because they were too old are now the most valuable things in the sky,” Twidell tells the Globe & Mail. “Our database has about 200 of them and they’re all flying.” The orders for those planes, along with Gulfstreams, started coming in on Thursday, soared on Friday, and had gone "ballistic" by the weekend, he says, with passengers taking off from and landing at the handful of regional airports that remain open throughout the continent.
(More private jet stories.)

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