While airline passenger counts stayed at just 12% of last year’s holiday weekend, the private jet travel rebound continued

From the Wednesday prior to Memorial Day through Tuesday, the number of passengers who passed through TSA checkpoints hovered at just 12% of 2019 levels.

During the same period, fractional and charter operator flights surged to 58% of 2019 levels, continuing an upward trek. The data from Argus affirmed the rebound for private jet operators, which just last month had seen flying drop to just 20% of last year’s level as the Covid-19 stay-at-home orders ground travel to a virtual halt.

TSA Memorial Day Weekend Throughput

Day2019
Passengers
2020
Passengers
% of
2019 activity
Wed    2,472,123          230,3679%
Thurs     2,673,635          318,44912%
Fri     2,792,670          348,67312%
Sat      2,124,825          253,19012%
Sun     2,070,716          267,45113%
Mon      2,512,237          340,76914%
Tues    2,453,649          264,84311%
Totals17,099,855       2,023,74212%
Passengers passing through TSA checkpoints Memorial Day Weekend 2020 vs. 2019

Flights by charter operators achieved 59% of activity levels on a year-over-year basis. During the period there were 13,742 departures, down from 23,453 in 2019.

Charter Operator Memorial Day Weekend Flights

Day2019
Flights
2020
Flights
% of
2019 activity
Wed3,7622,19558%
Thurs4,2162,51660%
Fri4,2432,39556%
Sat2,4361,73371%
Sun2,1421,36063%
Mon3,1801,66952%
Tues3,4741,87454%
Totals23,453  13,74259%
Private Jet Charter Flights Memorial Day Weekend 2020 vs. 2019

The busiest day was the Thursday before the holiday with 2,516 flights compared to 4,216 in 2019, a 60% level. However, on Saturday activity by charter operators ended up at 71% of last year’s level.

Top charter operators include Gama Aviation Signature, Delta Private Jets, and TMC Jets, all part of the Wheels Up group, Executive Jet Management, XOJet, Jet Linx, Solairus Aviation, JetEdge, and Fly Exclusive.

Fractional Operator Memorial Day Weekend Flights

Day2019
Flights
2020
Flights
% of
2019 activity
Wed1,23365153%
Thurs1,31072155%
Fri1,45878053%
Sat83356868%
Sun72445563%
Mon1,33359645%
Tues118264154%
Totals8,073   4,41255%
Fractional Operator Private Jet Flights Memorial Day Weekend 2020 vs. 2019

For fractional operators, which Argus includes NetJets, Flexjet, Airshare, Nicholas Air, Northern Jet Management, AirSprint, and Planesense, activity for the holiday weekend was at 55% of 2019 levels. On Saturday it reached 68% of prior year totals.

The Argus stats divide operators by their principle flying, so while NetJets and Flexjet are under Part 91k fractional operators, their totals include jet card flights.

The strong private jet totals for the Memorial Day Weekend come as Sentient said it had sold 5,000 flight hours since the beginning of April, which Private Jet Card Comparisons estimates to be at least $30 million in sales. Earlier today Air Partner said call volume for May is up 210% over 2019.

WingX, which produces a weekly global tracking report, added notes of optimism for the private jet set. Its managing director Richard Koe said, “Business aviation is clearly coming back faster than scheduled aviation…The U.S. is the key market with Florida, Texas, Arizona leading the recovery. We should see an acceleration in the recovery in the next couple of months as lockdown measures get released and forward bookings get flown. The industry will be hoping that pent-up demand gets released in time for at least some of the summer season.”

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