Private jet flights are expected to eclipse the 3 million level for third straight year in 2019

By Doug Gollan, February 1, 2019

In 2018 business aircraft flight activity increased just 0.9% after 4.8% and 8.1% growth in 2017 and 2016

In a classic glass half full or half empty analysis, TRAQPak’s 2018 Business Aviation Review noted that while private jet flights are set to exceed the three million mark in 2019 for the third straight year, growth last year was markedly slower. Business aircraft flight activity inched up nine-tenths of a percent, far below the 4.8% growth the industry saw in 2017 and 8.1% gains the previous year. On the negative side, the second half of the year saw declines after positive growth during the first six months.

In its report, TRAQPak noted, “2018 produced year over year rises for eight of the 12 months on the calendar. The middle of the market (midsize jets) produced the largest growth for the industry but there were bright spots mixed in across the board. This now represents five straights years of consistent growth in business aviation starting in 2014.”

2018 number of private jet flights
While there were over three million business aviation flights in 2018, growth was markedly slower in the second half of the year. It’s expected there will be over three million flights again in 2019.

2018 Business Aviation Results

➢            2018 flight activity rose 0.9% from 2017 while flight hours rose 0.7% for the

same period, meaning duration of flights was shorter.

➢            Flight activity was positive for the start of the year, but then took a slight downward turn during the 2nd half. The 1st half of 2018 was up 2.3% compared to the same period in 2017, while the 2nd half was down 0.5% compared to 2017.

➢            Q1 2018 experienced the strongest year over year rise in flight activity, up 3.2% from Q1 2017. Q2 followed with an increase of 1.5%, while Q3 & Q4 saw declines of 0.8% & 0.2% respectively.

Full Aircraft Ownership (Part 91) 2018 performance

➢            In the past 12 months, Part 91 flights and flight hours grew 1.1%

and 0.6% respectively, when compared to 2017.

➢            Midsize cabin Part 91 flight hours increased 1.1% in 2018. Large and small cabin Part 91 flight hours each grew at a rate of 0.4% during the year.

➢            Turboprop flight hours saw an increase of 0.7% during 2018.

➢            Part 91 operators flew 2,285,265 hours over the last 12

month an increase of 14,487 hours over 2017.

Jet Cards and On-Demand Charter (Part 135) 2018 performance

TRAQPak noted jet card and on-demand flight activity finally saw its growth rate cool in 2018 with recorded yearly rises in six of the 12 months. The strongest month on the calendar was February, which saw growth of 8.8%. The segment finished the year up 0.5% from 2017.

➢            In the past 12 months, Part 135 on-demand charter flights and flight hours grew 0.5% and 0.7% respectively, when compared to 2017.

➢            Large cabin Part 135 flight hours grew 7.6% in 2018. Midsize jet card and on-demand charter hours saw a decline of 0.1% during the year, and small cabin aircraft declined 3.2%.

➢            Part 135 turboprop flight hours decreased 0.5% during 2018.

➢            Part 135 operators flew 1,586,261 hours over the last 12 months; that represents an increase of 11,707 hours over 2017.

Fractional Ownership 2018 performance

The fractional industry continued its rebound from the sluggish years of consolidation, said TRAQPak. The segment saw yearly gains in 10 of the 12 months to post an increase of 1.2% in 2018. The strongest individual segment growth occurred in the mid-size cabin market, which posted 8.5% growth over 2017.

➢            In the past 12 months, Fractional flights & flight hours increased 1.2% and 0.9% respectively, when compared to 2017.

➢            Midsize cabin Fractional flight hours saw an increase of 8.3% in 2018. Small cabin flight hours decreased 0.5% while large cabin flight hours dropped 15.7% during the year.

➢            Fractional turboprop flight hours decreased 5.5% during


➢            Fractional operators flew 575,108 hours over the last 12 months; that represents an increase of 4,977 hours over 2017.

Read: The most popular private aircraft by category in 2018

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