Abercrombie & Kent's new private jet division expands programs

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Private jet travel, once a sliver of a niche market for only the very affluent, is now growing so robustly in popularity that it surprises even those who market the product.

Abercrombie & Kent, which has been offering private jet programs since 1989, recently established a division devoted to the offerings to keep up with demand.

Abercrombie & Kent unveiled a 22-night Private Jet South America tour this past February, with a little under a year for travelers to book the Oct. 30 departure. And according to the operator, the seats were all sold out before the end of February.

Signs that the affluent market is growing are all around, and with the lightning sell-out of the South America trip, A&K was ready with a quick follow-up.

This month, A&K presented the 22-night Nine World Wonders program, its first private jet offering for 2007, departing March 11. The included nine wonders are: the pyramids of Tikal in Guatemala; the giant stone moai heads on Easter Island, Chile; the Sydney Opera House in Sydney; Angkor Wat in Cambodia; the Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar; the Taj Mahal in Agra, India; the souks and mosques in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; the lost city of Petra in Jordan; and the Egyptian pyramids of Giza.

A&K is able to tie this collection of remote sites into a single itinerary by use of the private jet concept with the use of a Boeing 757-200 reconfigured for 48 passengers instead of the usual 186. The private jet enables the operator to create routes that are not offered by scheduled aircraft, and customs and immigration issues are greatly simplified when all passengers on the aircraft are traveling as a group with a reputable tour operator.

The extended itinerary allows plenty of time to stretch out and experience each destination with activities such as horseback riding on Easter Island, a seaplane ride over Sydney and Rose Bay in Australia, a helicopter trip to the Beng Meala temple in the jungle near Siem Reap, and a look behind the scenes at a thoroughbred racing stable in Dubai.

The price tag on the 22-night journey is $69,875 per person, double occupancy. Travel agents earn at least the customary 10% commission on the sale.

A&K will soon unveil details for its second 2007 private jet offering, the Ancient Traders & Explorers program departing Sept. 23, following ancient caravan routes across the deserts of Africa from Marrakech, Morocco, to Timbuktu, Mali, including Lalibela, Ethiopia; Petra and Wadi Rum, Jordan; Damascus, Syria; and Ephesus,Turkey. 

For more information see www.abercrombiekent.com.

To contact reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].

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