Branded private jet charter operators set flight records in March

By Doug Gollan, April 2, 2021

Overall, private aviation activity in March was up 30% compared to 2020, but down 8% compared to 2019

Business aviation activity surged 30% in March compared to the same period in 2020. However, private jet flights were still 8% down compared to 2019, according to WingX.

“The year-on-year rebound reflects the relatively unlocked economies this month, compared to the second half of March 2020, when lockdown policies had been enforced across most of the world,” according to a press release.

In contrast, scheduled airline activity was down by 18% compared to 2020, and 44% less than 2019.

With 285,000 private jet and turboprop flights last month, the North American region accounted for 80% of global activity. The U.S. was up 36% in March and within 10% of 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

Aircraft Management companies realized a 40% rebound compared to last year when many owners grounded their aircraft. Branded charter operators turned in the strongest performance. Their activity was up 10% compared to 2019. Year-to-date branded charter operators are 2% ahead of 2019, setting a new U.S. charter activity peak for the first quarter of a calendar year.

The hard-hit large cabin and ultra-long-range categories were up at least 25% in March than 2019, although both segments are still trailed Q1 2020. The biggest gains are in entry-level and very light jet segments, both up 15% compared to Q1 2020. Activity by the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet boosted the numbers, according to WingX.

Light and midsize jet segments were both up more than 40% year-over-year in March. They were also up 10% compared to Q1 2020, but still a few points behind their pre-pandemic activity. The super-midsize category saw big gains, up 47% in March compared to last year.

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