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Seas & Skies: The Best of Both Worlds

Seas & Skies: The Best of Both Worlds

29th November 2023

It is widely acknowledged that time saved is money earned, and in the pursuit of extracting the most from each fleeting tick, the combination of yachting and private aviation stand out as a perfect pairing, ensuring that both the destination and the journey are moments equally as valuable in the pursuit of unforgettable experiences. 

Private travel through the seas and the skies shared a common surge in activity as the pandemic made increased privacy, security, and control over one’s environment ever more necessary, resulting in record-breaking years for both the yachting industry and private aviation sectors. As the yacht market normalizes back to pre-pandemic levels, the demand for and benefits drawn from the use of private aircrafts in tandem with yachting experiences continue to be strong. 

Official partner to IYC, HeliFlite, who have been the premiere private aviation company serving the Northeast of the United States for over 25 years, have observed that “as smaller, private tours and experiences have become more of a desired, luxurious experience, the desire and need to incorporate private aviation has grown as well.” 

Making use of private aviation is “the greatest addition to a yacht you can possibly imagine,” says Mark Elliott, Sales & Charter Consultant at IYC. A reference name in the industry when it comes to pairing yachting with private aviation, Elliott owns his own small fleet of private aircrafts, has bought and sold more than 50 aircrafts for his own use, and has built more helipads than anybody else in the business. 

The most obvious benefits gained from traveling privately are time saved, convenience, and increased efficiency. When traveling by private jet to an airport near your yacht, one avoids all the commercial experiences from waiting in line, to lengthy security checks, and is able to curate their journey according to their own schedule and to the destination of their choice. In this regard, a client traveling to their yacht on a private jet will ultimately get there quicker and get much closer to the vessel.

IYC Charter Consultant, Katy Carter, adds “flexibility is key.” When planning a charter in the French Riviera, for example, one flying in commercial would land at Nice Airport and expect sometimes up to a further 3 hours of travel to get to their yacht. Landing at private airports such as Cannes-Mandelieu or St.Tropez-La Mole however, allows seamless transport to the yacht in minutes where lunch is prepared on the aft deck and guests can jump right in the water and start enjoying every minute of their time on board.

President of IYC official partner, Sheltair, Lisa Holland, runs the largest privately-owned aviation network in the United States, operating 16 FBOs and managing 4.5 million square feet of hanger property. “Flying commercial is like rolling a dice,” she says. “Flying private today promises clients peace of mind, certain they will get to their destination on time and have their car or helicopter to take them to their final destination waiting on the tarmac when they arrive.” 

Providing clients with point-to point travel, there is no better tender than a helicopter. “Once you land on a helicopter by helicopter, you will never want to go back to normal ways.” says Elliott. 

Indeed, the use of helicopters in combination with yachting offer a whole host of benefits. Beyond the simple convenience of getting guests to and from their yacht more efficiently, “the helicopter becomes an unbelievable vehicle for touring,” says Elliott. 

Referring back to his previous life as a Captain, Elliott shares that his most popular use of the helicopter included embarking on aerial tours, often meeting the yacht en route to another destination and landing directly on the yacht underway. In doing so, the helicopter also becomes a great tool to provide a visual of the areas you travel through. In the Caribbean, he remembers, “we would circle the yacht by helicopter and let the owner decide which anchorages and beaches he wanted to visit with the yacht. It offered them a great quick snapshot view.”

By and large, “helicopters are unbelievably fast, efficient and exciting,” he says. “In Europe we could be water skiing in Villefranche in the afternoon, hop on the helicopter and be snow skiing within an hour. The sky's the limit because you can land just about anywhere. We’ve gone to waterfalls, had picnics in the jungle, had people go surfing from the helicopter, dropping them off outside break, we’ve been on glaziers in Alaska… The adventure possibilities are endless.” 

Increasingly popular, especially in the Bahamas and the Caribbean, is the use of seaplanes. Offering many of the same benefits as helicopters, sea planes are quick and practical, offer breathtaking views, and allow guests to land in the open water and walk straight onto their yacht. “This also means the yacht can bypass marinas and wait for guests in a peaceful anchorage of their choice,” says Carter. 

While these private aircrafts are particularly beneficial for clients, there are a number of ways in which they are helpful to the yacht and the crew, whether for exchanging guests efficiently without disrupting the yacht’s itinerary, moving crew and provisions back and forth, or in some cases, their medevac possibilities. 

The unparalleled swiftness of private jets, the adaptability of helicopters, and the unmatched access seaplanes provide, all find unique synergy with time enjoyed on board a yacht, inviting us to discover new horizons and cultivate deeper connections with our environment. Traveling private offers more than just an avenue to reach destinations faster; they symbolize the power of choice and the decision to make every minute count. 

However, this is not without its responsibilities. With this privilege comes a duty to uphold the values of environmental consciousness and care of our impact on the skies and seas. While we praise the benefits of private air travel, we must do so with an understanding of our carbon footprint and a commitment to seeking sustainable solutions for both aviation and maritime industries. 

To discover the possibilities and travel solutions best for you, get in touch with your broker or contact us.

This editorial was published in HORIZONS magazine Issue #10. To read the full magazine, click here

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