Fractional activity posts strong first-half gains as Part 135 dips

By Doug Gollan, August 23, 2019

Private jet flying by fractional fleet operators posted a 6.2% gain while on-demand charter and jet card flights dipped 2.2% as the market overall gained 0.3%

Flight activity for the first half of 2019 was up 0.3% compared to the same period in 2018, however, it was a varied report when it came to where the gains came from. Flight hours were up 0.7% during the same period.

private jet activity first half 2019
Private aviation flight activity was up 0.3% in the first half of 2019, according to Traqpak

Flying by fractional fleet operators was the star in the first half of 2019, according to an analysis of private aviation flying by Traqpak. Fractional activity reported the strongest mid-year gain, up 6.2% during the first six months of 2019. Part 91 flight activity was up 0.7%, while Part 135 flight activity, which represents on-demand charter and jet cards, was down 2.2% for the period.

Traqpak reports, “After moving towards a cooling trend in 2018, the Part 135 segment has spent all of 2019 in the red as each of the six months has declined from 2018.”

It continues, “The Fractional industry, on the other hand, has produced yearly gains during all six months of 2019 and the Part 91 segment has also been mostly positive in 2019 with gains in four of the six months.

Part 135, Part 91 and Part 91k flight activity 2019

Looking ahead, after a relatively flat first half of 2019, Traqpak analysts are expecting flight activity to increase during the second half of 2019. It estimates that flight activity from July to December of 2019 will rise by 2.0% over the same period in 2018, including a gain every month except August, where it projects a 0.7% decline.

The strongest month is expected to be September, with a forecasted increase of 4.6%, followed by December, which is anticipated to rise by 3.3%. November is third with an expected gain of 2.4%, followed by October and July which expect to see rises of 1.7% & 1.0% respectively.

Private Jet and Turboprop Activity First Half 2019

Aircraft Category 2018 2019 % Change
Turboprops 483,685 481,648 -0.4%
Small Cabin 370,980 364,439 -1.8%
Mid-Size Cabin 440,960 455,293 3.3%
Large Cabin 235,848 234,491 -0.6%

In terms of types, midsize private jets were the only cabin category showing a gain, with a 3.3% increase in flight activity. Turboprop flying dipped 0.4% over the first half of the year with large cabin activity down 0.6%.  Light jets saw flying drop 1.8%. Super midsize aircraft are part of the midsize data.

Private Jets and Turboprops: Charter, Jet Cards, Fractional and Non-Commercial

Who falls into which categories. Below is how Traqpak breaks down the private aviation activity in the above numbers.

Part 135 Commercial Operator

  • An on-demand commercial aircraft operator and those aircraft that are listed with the FAA.
  • A Part 135 operator that offers scheduled service is not considered on-demand and therefore is omitted from TRAQPak’s Part 135 data.
  • On-demand charter and jet card flights on a Part 135 operator would be included in these numbers

Fractional Operator

  • A company that sells or leases shares of business aircraft that are listed with the FAA.
  • If greater than 50% of their aircraft have shares available then they are considered Fractional.
  • Jet card flights on Fractional operators (Part 91K) such as NetJets and Flexjet would be included in these numbers.

Non-Commercial Operator

  • A Part 91 Non-Commercial company is any remaining business aviation operator that is not listed as a Part 135 or Fractional company.
  • This category reflects what you would consider private owners, including flight departments.

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