Top private-jet routes of the rich

Where the rich travel

Like migrating birds, private jet setters follow a basic instinct when it comes to their flight paths: They follow better weather.

An analysis of the world's top private-jet flights tracked by NetJets found that the most common private-jet route in the world is between New York and Southern Florida. (Tweet This)

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The other most common routes are mainly between money centers: Southern California to the San Francisco Bay area, followed by New York to Boston.

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"When you look globally, that New York to Southern Florida route is far and away number one," said Patrick Gallagher, senior vice president, head of sales at NetJets, which offers fractional ownership and rental of private business jets. "It's mainly a function of population and the concentration of wealth."

Indeed, a study from Wealth-X found that New York and Florida account for one-fifth of "ultra-high-net-worth" Americans, or those who are worth $30 million or more and would be more likely to fly private. California accounts for another 20 percent of this group.

In Europe, NetJets' private-jet traffic also follows the money. The most common route is between London and Geneva. Flights from London to Nice, France, were the second-most common, followed by Paris to London.

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The fastest-growing route in private-jet traffic, according to a separate 2013 analysis from NetJets and Knight Frank, was Nice to New York, followed by Maiquetia, Venezuela, to Miami, and then Dubai to London.

Overall, the U.S. remains the world's largest private-jet market, accounting for 60 percent of the world's private-jet originators and destinations. Europe is the second-largest market, followed by the Middle East, with China and Brazil close behind.

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Granted, the NetJets numbers are only a partial view of the private-jet world. They don't include people or companies that own their own planes or use other services. But since NetJet is the biggest player in the private-jet space, data on its flights are a useful proxy. It said more than 80 percent of private-jet travelers are male, typically ages 40 to 55, and the most are entrepreneurs. The largest numbers made their money in finance, as well as oil and gas.

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And the private-jet routes of the rich can also offer hints into the fastest-growing markets for high-end real estate. They show, for instance, that London and New York have emerged as the two dominant twin cities of the global rich.

"There is a clear synergy between established market routes and investment flows—with London and New York displaying one of the closest prime-property relationships as well as flight paths," according to Knight Frank.