U.S. Private, Fractional, and Charter jet operators continued rebound in July

By Doug Gollan, August 8, 2020

Data from Argus shows all categories of private jet operators saw recovery in July, although numbers remain below 2019 levels

Private jet travel continued to rebound in July moving closer to 2019 levels, according to data from Argus.

Still, the numbers may have been slightly disappointing after a fast start when flying over the July 4th holiday spiked above the previous year’s numbers.

Of course compared to the airlines, where passenger counts remain down by 75% look like a sunny day.

Part 91 non-commercial flights, operated for the owners of the aircraft, continued to lag slightly behind fractional (Part 91K) and charter operators (Part 135). In July Part 91 flights were down 23% compared to 2019 in July, an improvement from June (-28%), May (-46%), and the bottom in April (-68%).


Fractional operators, which include NetJets and Directional’s Flexjet, saw flights down by 19% in July, a continued upswing from April when activity had dropped by 80%.

Part 135 charter operators continued to show the strongest recovery powered by newcomers seeking to reduce exposure to COVID-19. July flights were 15% behind last year’s numbers, an improvement from April when they were off by 67%.

COVID-19 Private Jet Travel Trends

(Part 91)
(Part 91K)
(Part 135)
May -46%-54%-47%
June -28%-25%-22%

Continued improvement for private jets is not a given, according to WingX, another business aviation consultancy.

In its most recent weekly update, it wrote, “The U.S. has lost some ground recently. A month ago, trends were coming within 15% of usual, now they are more than 20% behind.”

WingX managing director Richard Koe commented, “The mid-summer comeback in business jet activity has been weaker than anticipated due to the stop-start lockdowns in the US. In particular, the East Coast is still in a slump, and Florida, the recovery engine so far, is now spluttering.”

Overall, private jet flights across all three categories are down 29% compared to 2019, according to Argus.


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