Stats: Business Flights at Highest Level Since 2008

Businessman Walking Toward Airplane
Photo by Ryan McVay/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Business flight activity has hit its highest level since the economic downturn of 2008.

The findings come from the latest Business Aviation Index for the third quarter of 2017, which was just released by Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI), which provides maintenance support and financial services to the business aviation industry. According to the index, which tracks utilization of approximately 2,000 business aircraft worldwide, average flight hours have reached levels not seen since 2008.

The third quarter follows a steady increase in flight activity throughout the year and was the most active period in 2017. Average flight hours increased 4.5 percent year-to-date and key regional markets around the world, including Asia, Africa and South America, also reported strong year-to-date flight hour activity.

"The summer months are consistently the strongest period of the year for flight activity. Our Business Aviation Index has now shown a year-over-year increase in third-quarter flight activity for five consecutive years," said Neil W. Book, president and chief executive officer of JSSI, in a written release. "These are encouraging signs that companies are leveraging corporate jets to conduct business around the world. It's also promising to see such growth in regional diversity coming from markets outside North America and Europe."

The JSSI Business Aviation Index tracks and reports on the global flight activity and utilization of business aircraft worldwide, including jets, turboprops and helicopters. Unlike commercial aviation, which is largely driven by consumer spending, business aviation is a tool needed for efficient travel to conduct core business activities, JSSI said. The report calculates the average flight hours flown per aircraft on a monthly basis and organizes this data by global region, industry and cabin type. This ultimately provides useful insights into the state of global economic conditions.

Key findings in the third-quarter data include:

  • Overall flight hours increased 4.5 percent year-to-date and 2.4 percent year-over-year since the third quarter of 2016. Average aircraft utilization of 29.11 hours in the third quarter represents the highest level since flight hours averaged over 30 hours in late 2008.
  • When broken down by industry, the largest increases across nine industries were seen in the aviation and manufacturing industries, with quarter-over-quarter increases of 8.3 percent and 6 percent respectively. There was a 12.7 percent decrease in the consumer goods industry and an 8 percent decrease in the real estate sector.
  • Of the seven regions tracked in the index, only North America showed a decrease in aircraft utilization quarter-over-quarter, with a 0.9 percent drop in flight hours. Activity in South America increased by 8.3 percent and Asia-Pacific by 8.6 percent.
  • All regions increased flight hours year-over-year, with the exception of the Middle East and Europe. South America increased 7.1 percent, Central America increased 8.6 percent, and Africa reported the largest increase at 33.2 percent.
  • Flight activity in North America increased 5.1 percent year-to-date, with an increase of 1.6 percent year-over-year.

Source: JSSI

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