Like the jet-setting and deal-making customers they serve, savvy travel affiliates are quietly making money in the private jet charter market as the economy begins to dig-out of the recession.

If you’re like most folks, you probably believe that the premium business travelers’ use of commercial airlines and corporate jets has tanked since the onset of last year’s financial crises.  To a large extent, that has been true; premium traffic (i.e., first class and business class seating) on the world’s airlines has dropped some 20% – 40% depending on the airline, and corporate jet manufacturers like Gulfstream, Bombardier, Cessna and Dassault have seen hundreds of private jet orders canceled by corporations around the world since the financial meltdown began last year.

However, anecdotal evidence in the corporate travel industry suggests things have changed, not in terms of banks and corporations shelling-out tens of millions of dollars to acquire corporate jets again or rushing to buy first class tickets on commercial airlines for their executives, but rather, in their approach to how they purchase premium air travel.

Given that there is still a huge and lingering outcry and anger by both the public and politicians over the corporate excesses in the global banking and financial services sectors that helped to stoke flames of the credit crisis (which include extravagant perks like serendipitous use of corporate jets that many bankers and executives enjoyed), today many bankers and top corporate executives are no longer flying on their company’s own jets.  Instead, they are chartering private aircraft by the day.

We’ve talked to several commercial airline and corporate jet industry insiders, and they all agreed that the new ‘normal’ for many bankers and jet-setting dealmakers is now the discreet use of private jets chartered from charter or fractional jet operators.

Indeed, in a recent study by executive pay consultancy Equilar, companies actually increased the amount they spent on the use of private jets even at the height of the financial crisis last year.  That trend, Equilar suggests, seems to be increasing this year as well.

Travel affiliates can participate in this super-niche by working with one of the many private jet operators that offer air charter travel affiliate programs, like OneSky Jets, V1 Jets and Elite Jet Charter.

Air charter travel affiliate programs pay travel affiliates a pre-set commission on the value of the charter booking, which, once the travel affiliates customer makes a booking, this typically translates into both a high transaction value as well as a high commission amount.  For example, at the low end, V1 Jets pays $5.00 per lead that results in a reservation request, but will compensate qualified travel affiliates up to $1000 for each lead generation that results in a large jet booking.

If you are interested in V1 Jets’ affiliate program, visit their affiliate information and sign-up page; or click here to learn more about OneSky Jet’s air charter travel affiliate program. Alternatively, any travel affiliate interested in Elite Jet Charter’s air charter travel affiliate program can get their program parameters by visiting their affiliate program overview page.

TravelDividends thinks that the air charter market will continue to grow as, given Wall Street’s rightful aversion to bad publicity, any public sign of conspicuous corporate extravagance is unlikely to return any time soon.  As such, bankers, CEOs, consultants and other top-level business executives will use private air charter providers to keep their travel expenses as opaque to outside prying eyes as possible.

We’re curious as to what our readers think about this travel niche, and its forward prospects.  If you currently offer a private jet program in your travel portfolio, or thinking about doing, please share your thoughts and views by dropping us an email or leaving a comment.  Many thanks!