Private jet companies that cater to the ultra-wealthy did well early in the coronavirus crisis. Now they’re asking for their own bailout.

Two Gulfstream G650s ARND WIEGMANN/Reuters

The private aviation industry would like to be included in any US federal aid that goes to airlines struggling with decimated revenue streams as coronavirus wreaks havoc on travel around the world.

In a letter to Congress Friday, a consortium of private aviation industry groups urged lawmakers to include business and general aviation in any financial aid package similar to how the group was included following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 that similarly crippled the industry.

“The United States business and general aviation industry, which includes all operations other than the scheduled commercial airlines and military, supports 1.2 million jobs and $US247 billion in economic impact,” the letter, signed by executives from groups like the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, Helicopter Association International, and National Air Transportation Association said.

“Across the country, thousands of small and mid-size businesses generate $US77 billion in labour income that pays the bills for families and supports communities throughout the country.”

Their ask follows a $US58 billion proposal by commercial airlines for an aid package to keep their companies solvent, much of which is in the form of grants and loans.

But the pain felt by independent charters and private planes hasn’t been as uniform as that felt by airlines.

In the hours and days following a series of travel bans by the United States and Europe to limit the spread of the virus, some jet charters saw a massive uptick in anxious travellers eager to get home – regardless of the cost.

“In short, we are booming,” Justin Crabbe, CEO of private jet charter company Jettly, told Business Insider earlier in March. “I’ve never seen so much activity in our evacuation flight department.”

But not all of the private aviation businesses included in the letter are luxury charters. Many of the represented businesses serve thousands of airports throughout the United States not on major air carriers’ routes and others transport critical medical supplies like those for organ transplants.

On Monday, two competing pieces of economic stimulus legislation bounced their way through Capitol Hill bureaucracy. The Senate’s bill twice failed a procedural vote as Democrats criticised its lack of worker protections, while a separate House bill – yet to be formally introduced – contained more restrictive language on oft-criticised stock buybacks and outlandish executive salaries.

“The business aviation industry is resilient and has a proven track record of providing humanitarian assistance during times of need,” the letter says. “However, the air carriers within our industry are facing unprecedented challenges, and we appreciate your consideration of our requests.”