Business Aviation Tops 3 Million Flights For First Time Since 2008

TraqPAK reports 2017 was a good year for private jet operators, including fractional, charter and Jet Cards.

By Doug Gollan, February 5, 2018

TraqPAK reports 2017 was a good year for private jet operators, including fractional, charter and Jet Cards


Business aviation eclipsed three million flights for the first time since 2008, according to TRAQPak. Overall, total business flight activity in 2017 was at the highest rate of growth since 2014. Flight activity increased across all operational categories for a combined increase of 3.9%. The researcher said, 2017 produced year over year increases each month, with Thursday continuing to be the busiest day of the week for flight activity. 


The year provided significant milestones as we saw business aviation eclipse 3,000,000 flights for the first time since 2008, and we recorded year over year rises in flight activity and flight hours for all 12 months. Total 2017 flight activity rose 3.9% from 2016 while flight hours rose 5.5% for the same period. Flight activity was consistently robust for the year, according to TRAQPak. The 1st half (Jan – Jun) of 2017 was up 3.9% compared to the same period in 2016, while the 2nd half (Jul – Dec) was up 3.8% compared to 2016. The second quarter of 2017 experienced the strongest year over year rise in flight activity, up 5.4% from Q2 2016. Q1, Q3 & Q4 followed with increases of 2.4%, 4.0% and 3.6% respectively.

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Fractional flights and flight hours grew 4.7% and 6.7% respectively in the past 12 months when compared to 2016. In total, fractional operators flew 570,131 hours during 2017; that represents an increase of 35,647 hours over 2016. Large Cabin fractional flight hours saw an increase of 7.0% in 2017. Mid-size flight hours increased 5.7% while small cabin flight hours increased 8.9% during the year.


NetJets flight hours increased 7.5% to 365,495 hours while second place Flexjet hours increased 7.8% to 78,901 hours. PlaneSense fractional hours increased 4.3% to 35,344 hours. Flight Options, which like Flexjet is owned by Directional Aviation, saw hours fall 12.4%. The company has said it is phasing out the brand.

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GAMA Aviation, which operates Wheels Up fleet for its Jet Card members was the busiest Part 135 operator clocking 67,152 hours. Executive Jet Management, also owned by NetJets’s owner Berkshire Hathaway followed (55,003 hours) ahead of XOJET (45,990), Delta Private Jets (38,048), Jet Linx Aviation (32,167), Travel Management Company (30,385), Solairus Aviation (24,854), Jet Edge (20,130), Jet Aviation (19,110) and Clay Lacy Aviation (17,194) rounding out the top 10 in flight hours. Corporate Flight Management placed 11th, followed by JetSuite, defunct Zetta Jet, Landmark Aviation and Exclusive Jets.

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