US bizjet activity tops pre-pandemic levels

In the first ten days of October, global business jet and turboprop activity was 7% higher than in the same period in 2019, and 35% higher than October 2020.

According to aviation data specialist Wingx’s Global Market Tracker, business aviation activity has increased by 10% since the start of the summer, up 14% in terms of business jets only. Scheduled airline activity fell by 34% over the same period. In 2021 to date, business jet traffic is 3% higher than in the first nine months of 2019.

Wingx reported that the United States is heading into October with a business jet trend some way ahead of volumes in October 2019, which was itself the strongest activity month since 2008. Business jet flight hours are up 16% in the last ten days versus the same period in October 2019. Commercial airline activity has returned to 20% of pre-pandemic levels.

Florida is the busiest US state this month, continuing to see record numbers of business jet departures, 40% higher than the first ten days of October 2019. California has seen 8,142 business jet departures this month, up by 17% compared with years ago. Jet sectors flown out of New Jersey this month are down 3% compared to October 2019.

The US charter market continues to drive business aviation, with demand surging 32% above comparable levels in 2019. Fractional operations are almost as buoyant, with no sign of activity slowing as the leading operators restrict new registrations. Aircraft management operators are also flying more, sectors up 15%, and private activity, including corporate and individual flight departments, is recovering. Almost all of the US activity is domestic, with 17% growth in sectors and 22% growth in terms of flight hours. The average sector length is just 377nm. International sectors are still much weaker, with 8% fewer international flights than in the same period in 2019.

Wingx managing director Richard Koe said: “There is a lot of excitement around the sustained growth in business aviation demand this year. Multiple announcements, from deliveries to orders to new concepts, are riding a wave of optimism. The activity rebound in 2021 is increasingly being seen as a green light for faster industry growth over the next few years, not just a one-off bounce from the pandemic.”