The Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI) Business Aviation Index for the first quarter of 2017 showed an increase in global business flight activity compared with the fourth quarter of 2016 while utilization of aircraft in the first quarter of 2017 represented the highest level of flight activity for any first quarter since 2008. 

“This has been one of the strongest starts to the year we have seen in almost a decade,” said Neil W. Book, JSSI’s President and Chief Executive Officer in a press release. He continued, “The significant increase in activity could be an indicator of positive sentiment among businesses concerning the overall economy. With continued strong growth in key regions such as Asia-Pacific and industries such as business services, we are optimistic 2017 will be a good year for the business aviation industry.”

The JSSI Business Aviation Index tracks and reports on the flight activity and utilization of close to 2,000 business aircraft worldwide. The report calculates the average flight hours flown per aircraft on a monthly basis and organizes this data into several key categories. The index tracks flight hours for business aircraft by global region, industry and cabin type, providing insights into the state of global economic conditions.

Key findings in the first-quarter 2017 report include:

  • Overall flight hours have increased 1.6% since the end of 2016 and increased 4.4% this year, when compared with the first quarter of 2016. Average aircraft utilization of 22.47 hours in the first quarter of 2017 was the highest for the first three months of the year since 2008.
  • When broken down by industry, the largest increases were seen in the business services, healthcare, and consumer goods industries, which were up 8.2%, 7.5% and 5.3%, respectively, from the last quarter of 2016. The largest decrease was in the real estate sector, with a 17% reduction in flight activity.
  • In regional flight activity, the two largest increases since the fourth quarter of 2016 were 13% in the Middle East and 5.7% in Asia-Pacific. The largest decrease was 6.6% in the Central American region.
  • In year-over-year comparisons, the first quarter of 2017 was strong across most regions. Asia-Pacific aircraft utilization reached its highest level since 2012, with 27.31 average flight hours representing a 24% increase year-over-year. Asia-Pacific has seen a steady increase in activity each quarter since early 2016.
  • Flight activity in North America was moderately strong in the first quarter of 2017, with increases of 3% quarter-over-quarter and 6.7% year-over-year. Although there have been no major changes that would affect business aviation under the new presidential administration, there continues to be a particularly strong business environment in North America.

About the Author Doug Gollan

I study and write about Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) consumers, luxury travel, the business of luxury and private aviation, particularly jet cards