Private jet flights increase share of worldwide fixed-wing flights by 58%

By Doug Gollan, March 12, 2021

Private jets’ share of global fixed-wing flight activity has increased to 19% this year compared to 12% prior to 2020, according to WingX

Private aviation accounted for 19% of all fixed-wing activity so far this year compared with 12% for the same period in 2020, according to WingX. That’s despite a year-to-date decline of 8% for private flying comparing with a 24% dive last year. It also reflects the continued swoon for scheduled airlines.

The U.S. resurgence in private aviation is being driven by the 12 states which are unlocking travel restrictions. In these places, departures are up 11% in March year-on-year which compared with a 5% drop in January and February and a 25% decline in March to December.

Half the 15,000 sectors flown out of these states this month have been out of Texas with demand rebounding from the big freeze as well as lockdown, driving a 14% year-on-year increase in business jet movements.

Europe is seeing an improvement in March after suffering a 26% drop in business aviation movements in January and February.

However, the UK continues to struggle with business aviation flights down 50% so far in March.

Richard Koe, managing director of WINGX Advance, said, “Business aviation in the U.S. is remarkably buoyant, with clear growth on the pre-pandemic period in 2020. Florida, joined by a host of other unlocked states, is seeing a sharp rebound in travel demand. Activity in Europe is getting closer to normal, with trends also starting to reflect comparison with the slowdown pre-lockdown in March 2020. In Asia, especially China, flight activity is already reflecting the recovery from the lockdown in progress a year ago.”

2021 U.S. private jet activity

Iowa, Connecticut, and North Dakota are the only “unlocked states” still down on pre-pandemic trends. Florida is up 19% in private jet and turboprop traffic so far this month and up 15% this year versus 2020. Since the pandemic struck 12 months ago, business aviation traffic is down only 6%.

So far in March 2021, Very Light Jet activity in Florida is up 45% year-on-year. Ultra-long range jets are flying 23% more sectors than in March 2020.

Flights from Florida to Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Colombia, Costa Rica are up by over 50%. Charter operations in Florida are up 27% this month and 25% so far this year.

West Palm Beach, Miami-Opa Locka Executive and Naples airports are all seeing record traffic levels.

At Teterboro, the busiest U.S. private aviation airport, traffic is still trailing by 40% this month compared to 2020.

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