NetJets increases its dominance as Flexjet, Wheels Up, and Vista Global continue their chase as the largest private jet charter and fractional operators

NetJets, Inc. handily kept its perch at the top of the mountain as the largest private jet operator when it came to flight hours by charter and fractional operators.

The data from Argus TraqPak shows the unit of Berkshire Hathway had a healthy 9.6% increase in 2022 flight hours compared to 2021.

NetJets’ gain of 52,324 flight hours in 2022 over 2021 would have, on its own, ranked as the fifth-largest operator.

Its 598,477 flight hours are equal to the next five largest companies combined.

Behind NetJets, Inc. (which includes NetJets, Executive Jet Management, and U.S. flights by NetJets Europe), the second, third, fourth, and fifth spots remained static.

Directional’s Flexjet, Inc. was second, followed by Wheels Up Experience, Vista Global, and FlyExclusive.

Our numbers roll up each of their parent company’s operators, so before you get to the data, let’s talk about how we get to the numbers.

What’s included?

We use this analysis to combine operators under their corporate parents, something that is becoming more important with all of the industry’s M&A activity.

As noted, that means adding Part 135 operator Executive Jet Management, a NetJets Inc. company, together with NetJets U.S. and NetJets Europe’s flights to/from the U.S. It also means summing VistaJet, Jet Edge, Air Hamburg, Red Wing Aviation, Talon Air, and XOJet flying under Vista Global Holding.

Aircraft arrival and departure information is included on all IFR flights in the U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii), Canada, and the Caribbean. That means flights from Vista’s Air Hamburg and VistaJet’s Malta AOC in the North American region are added to the total, and the same for other operators. They are noted at the bottom of the chart below.

We also update the 2021 numbers below to include acquisitions. That means in the 2021 numbers, we’ve added in flight hours for acquisitions. Vista’s 2021 numbers include its acquisitions Jet Edge and relevant Air Hamburg flight hours. The same for Wheels Up and Alante, Jet Linx and Southern Jet, and Priester and Mayo.

Lastly, it’s important to understand the limits in tracking for aircraft flying under Part 135, which you can read more about here.

Private Jet Charter Brokers vs. Operators

What do we miss?

This data is for operators and doesn’t count off-fleet brokerage flight activity.

As an example, in addition to its operator Flexjet, in the U.S., Directional Aviation owns jet card broker Sentient Jet and on-demand broker FXAir (via OneSky Flight, which is changing its name to Flexjet, Inc.).

In 2022, we estimate they combined for over $500 million in revenues off-fleet on other operators. That’s not included. Based on an average hourly rate for jet cards at the beginning of last year, that could be around 50,000 flight hours.

Likewise, a considerable amount of sales for both Wheels Up and Vista’s brokers, XO and Apollo Jets, are onto third-party operators.

In other words, this list reflects flight hours on fleets that are part of the corporate parent, not additional brokered flights.

Biggest Private Jet Companies

Behind NetJets, Flexjet held serve in the second spot with 183,548 flight hours, a 3.1% year-over-year increase.

It increased the gap between it and third-place Wheels Up Experience to just over 15,000 flight hours despite the latter adding light jet operator Alante Aviation and its dozen light jets to its totals.

Top Private Jet Operators – Full Year 2022

Rank 2022 (2021)Parent/Brand2021
Flight Hours
Total Share
1 (1)NetJets*                        546,153        598,4779.6%20.3%10.9%
2 (2)Flexjet*                        178,053        183,5483.1%6.2%3.3%
3 (3)Wheels Up*                        175,440         167,641-4.4%5.7%3.0%
4 (4)Vista Global*                        148,094        151,1922.1%5.1%2.7%
5 (5)FlyExclusive*46,70756,60121.2%1.9%1.0%
6 (9)Solairus                           39,687          49,98325.9%1.7%0.9%
7 (6)PlaneSense                          42,907          44,5933.9%1.5%0.8%
8 (7)Jet Linx *                          45,365          35,676-21.4%1.2%0.6%
9 (10)Airshare                          20,955          24,04014.7%0.8%0.4%
10(12)Nicholas Air                          18,023          21,59419.8%0.7%0.4%
11(14)Corp. Flight Management                          14,284          19,31035.2%0.7%0.4%
12(21)Jet It                          11,290          18,50063.9%0.6%0.3%
13(20)Jet Aviation                          11,502          17,67753.7%0.6%0.3%
14(13)Clay Lacy                          17,940          15,973-11.0%0.5%0.3%
15(15)Aero Air                          13,800          15,1449.7%0.5%0.3%
16(22)STA Jets                          11,187          14,68431.3%0.5%0.3%
17(23)Berry Aviation                          10,982          13,50122.9%0.5%0.2%
18(18)Fly Alliance                          11,737          11,613-1.1%0.4%0.2%
19(17)Thrive Aviation                          11,936          10,908-8.6%0.4%0.2%
20(NR)Silverhawk                             8,838          10,50318.8%0.4%0.2%
21(16)Worldwide Jet                          11,966          10,119-15.4%0.3%0.2%
22(24)GrandView                          10,593            9,539-9.9%0.3%0.2%
23(19)Hop A Jet                          11,682            9,292-20.5%0.3%0.2%
24(NR)ATI Jet                            8,112            9,15512.9%0.3%0.2%
25(NR)Priester*                            9,664            7,705-20.3%0.3%0.1%
26(28)SC Aviation 9,6159,026-6.1%0.3%0.2%
27(NR)Sky Quest8,7568,697-0.7%0.3%0.2%
28(26)Scott Aviation10,0828,623-14.5%0.3%0.2%
29(27)Prime Jet9,9458,413-15.4%0.3%0.2%
Source: Compiled by Private Jet Card Comparisons
with data from Argus TrakPak. *NetJets, Inc. includes NetJets Europe relevant flights and EJM; Flexjet, Inc. includes Flexjet and relevant flights by Flairjet; Jet Linx Aviation includes Southern Jet; Priester Aviation includes Mayo Aviation; Vista Global includes relevant Air Hamburg flights, Jet Edge, Jet Select, Red Wing Aviation, Talon Air, relevant VistaJet flights, XOJet; FlyExclusive includes Sky Night; Wheels Up includes Alante
. Editor’s Note: FlyExclusive flight hours have been charged to reflect updated data provided by Argus.

Wheels Up saw flight hours drop 4.4% to 167,641, according to the Argus data.

Vista Global saw flight hours increase by 2.1% to 151,192 hours, cutting the gap between it and Wheels Up. That includes its Jet Edge and Air Hamburg acquisitions in both the 2022 and 2021 numbers.

FlyExclusive held the 5th spot with a 21.2% gain in flight hours.

Solairus Aviation jumped from 9th to 6th, while PlaneSense dropped from 6th to 7th. Jet Linx dropped a notch from 7th to 8th.

Airshare moved from 10th to 9th, while Nicholas Air moved up two spots and cracked the top 10 for the first time.

New to the 2022 list

There were five new companies on our list of the biggest U.S. private jet companies.

Lincoln, Nebraska-based Silverhawk Aviation entered the 20th spot with 18.8% growth. El Paso, Texas-based ATI Jet placed 24th, while Chicago-based Priester used its acquisition of Mayo Aviation to enter at 25. Cleveland-based Sky Quest ranked 27th, while Miami-based 2020 start-up Verijet was 30th.

We also created a separate list ranking the largest Canadian charter and fractional operators.

Biggest Gainers

Cirrus SF50 operator Verijet had a 220.6% year-over-year increase. Fractional operator Jet It saw a 63.9% spike in flight hours, while Jet Aviation, a unit of General Dynamics, posted a 53.7% increase.

Corporate Flight Management 35.2% increase. Superior Transportation Associates, known as STA Jets, grew flight hours by 31.3%.

Other big percentage gains were had by Solairus Aviation (+25.9%), Berry Aviation (+22.9%), FlyExclusive (+21.2%), Nicholas Air (+19.8%), Silverhawk (+18.8%), Airshare (+14.7%), and ATI Jet (+12.9%)

The Long Tail of Private Aviation

We’ve already covered that NetJets, Inc. is cemented at the top of the hill when it comes to flight hours.

That may not be the be-all, end-all as it appears.

Seventy percent of subscribers to Private Jet Card Comparisons say they are open to considering boutique providers.

Going back to the data, despite NetJets’ dominance, it accounts for just 20.3% of charter and fractional hours and 10.9% of all U.S. private aviation flight hours.

In fact, the 30 largest private jet companies on our list account for just 52.8% of Part 135/91k hours and 28.3% of the overall U.S. business aviation market.

What’s more, despite all the M&A, the top 10 companies on our list saw the share of the 135/91k market fall from 45.1% in 2021 to 44.8% in 2022.

By contrast, the 10 largest airlines in the U.S. (Part 121) control over 90% of the market.

In other words, the long tail of private aviation appears to be quite strong.

What’s next?

With around 2,000 Part 135 operators, including over 600 with jets, it’s likely there will be more deals.

However, with only about 60 operators that have more than 10 jets, the Argus data suggests only significant consolidation can come is if some of the biggest providers combine.

Thomas Flohr recently said he plans to triple his global fleet to around 1,000 aircraft by 2030. However, he didn’t specify a mix between new aircraft and acquisitions.

(Editor’s Note: On Feb. 6, 2022, FlyExclusive flight hours were changed to reflect updated data from Argus, which impacted its ranking in the initial version.)


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