While scheduled airline flights are still 40% below pre-pandemic levels, WingX reports the private aviation recovery is going strong
With the U.S. leading the way, global private jet flights are 12% ahead of 2019 pre-Covid levels in June, according to WingX. It comes as scheduled airline flights remain 40% lower than 2019 levels. So far this year, global private aviation activity is just 6% below 2019 levels and 41% above 2020.
In the U.S., private jet activity this year is now 1% above the same period in 2019. In the first half of June, private flights surged 20% compared to the same period in 2019. Private aviation accounted for 25% of all flights operated by fixed-wing aircraft this month, according to the business aviation consultancy.
Florida private jets surge 30% compared to 2019
In Florida, private jet departures year-to-date are 30% higher in 2021 than in 2019, recording 160,000 takeoffs. That’s over 10 times the number of business jet movements in the U.K. for the same period. Intrastate flights in the Sunshine State are 34% up on pre-pandemic year-to-date. Private flights between Florida and New York are up nearly 70% compared with pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Private jet flights to some second-home markets are tracking more than 100% ahead of 2019.
WingX managing director Richard Koe notes, “During the pandemic, lifestyle and occasionally necessity sustained business jet demand, in the last few months we have seen leisure boost the recovery, and this will accelerate through the summer, with the return of at least some business travel taking utilization to new highs in 2021 compared to 2019. The surge should reliably follow the lifting of restrictions, with international trips waiting longer but almost certainly at the planning stage.”
U.S. charter and fractional share operators are seeing the quickest rebound, Koe adds. Combined activity in June is 60% ahead of last year and 10% ahead of 2019. Earlier this week, NetJets, the world’s largest private jet operator, pulled back on its jet card sales, saying it wanted to ensure it can cope with demand. Customers who buy shares, leases, and jet cards spend in some cases millions of dollars in advance to have guaranteed access to its fleet with as little as four hours’ notice. The Berkshire Hathaway-owned provider says flying is already at record levels. It is planning to take delivery of more than 50 new private jets this year.
At the same time, one aircraft broker predicts private jet charter prices could rise by as much as 20%. Sentient Jet, a leader in the jet card segment, said it expects summer flying to be 30%-to-50% ahead of pre-Covid levels.