Report: Flexjet, FlyExclusive post big flight increases vs. 2019

A new Jefferies/WingX monthly analysis on global private aviation shows Flexjet and FlyExclusive posting impressive gains but far behind NetJets.

By Doug Gollan, May 19, 2023

A new Jefferies/WingX monthly analysis on global private aviation shows Flexjet and FlyExclusive posting impressive gains but far behind NetJets

Private aviation activity was down 9% in April compared to 2022 but 14% ahead of 2019 levels, according to a new monthly report by Jefferies/WingX that also tracks top charter/fractional operator activity.

The increase compared to 2019 was driven by Asia/Pacific, which was up 40 in April%.

However, the region accounted for 4% of global departures over the trailing 12 months.

North America, with 76% of private flights, was up +12% compared to 2019.

According to Jefferies/WingX, flight hours are up 16% from 2019, with the average trip duration steady at 1.7 hours.

Monthly hours per aircraft averaged 26.6 in Jan-Apr 2023, down from 28.6 hours per aircraft in 2022.

On a full-year basis, the hours per flight in 2022 were a recent high and compared to 25.9 hours on average in 2019.

European departures in April were up 6% from 2019 in April but down 8% compared to 2022. This compares to a peak of 30% above 2019 levels in November 2021 and 23% above 2019 in July 2022.

Fractional and charter operators up were 19% in April compared to 2019, accounting for 32% of worldwide departures.

Private Flight Departments accounted for 26% of departures, Aircraft Management 20%, and Corporate Flight Departments made up 17%.

Top Fractional/Charter Operators in April 2023

Across the top fractional and charter operators, FlyExclusive and Flexjet have led the increase in activity, up 103% and 95% v.s 2019, according to Jefferies/WingX.

Flexjet was up 8% compared to April 2022, followed by NetJets, up 3% y-o-y.

NetJets, including subsidiaries, accounted for 38% of Fractional/Charter activity (compared to 10% for second-place Flexjet) and saw a 28% increase in April departures compared to 2019.

FlyExclusive was down 11% compared to last April.

Wheels Up activity was down 5% from 2019 organically and down 17% y-o-y in April.

Jefferies notes, “This compares to UP Q2 guidance for revenue down 15-18% y-o-y given program changes and macro headwinds.”

NetJets, Flexjet, and Wheels Up held the top three spots in our 2022 Top 30 Fractional/Charter operators list based on the U.S., using Argus TraqPak data.

Aircraft Management departures globally were up 5% from 2019 levels in April but down 12% compared to 2022. On a flight hour basis, aircraft management was up 7% from 2019 but down 13% y-o-y.

According to the report, “Aircraft management refers to operators who manage aircraft on behalf of private owners.”

Since managed aircraft often operate charter flights (Part 135) when owners aren’t using the aircraft, we can assume that the 20% of total flying Aircraft Management makes up includes some amount of charter hours.

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