2023's 30 Biggest Charter/Fractional Private Jet Companies Ranked

NetJets and Flexjet show big growth; Vista Global and Wheels Up stay in the top four. Here are 2023’s top U.S. private jet flight providers.

By Doug Gollan, March 29, 2024

According to a Private Jet Card Comparisons’ analysis of flight hours data from Argus TraqPak of the 30 largest U.S. private jet flight providers, the two biggest players – NetJets, Inc. and Flexjet, Inc. – had the biggest gains in 2023 compared to 2022. However, not all of the top players grew; in fact, two-thirds saw declines.

But first, a quick note. Our analysis is unique to other lists. It rolls up majority and minority-owned Part 135 (charter) and 91k (fractional) operators to their parents.

For example, NetJets, Inc. includes NetJets U.S., NetJets Europe’s flights departing to and arriving from North America, and its charter and management arm, Executive Jet Management.

The same goes for operators that are part of Vista Global, Flexjet, Inc., and so forth.

We’ve marked those flight providers with an asterisk and explanation.

The methodology and footnotes are described in full at the end.

Now, back to the results.

Flexjet, Inc. firmed up its position as second in the U.S., the world’s largest private aviation market.

Its 21,288-hour gain was the biggest gain of any operator and an 11.6% year-over-year increase.

In fact, its net growth in flight hours during 2023 would have ranked Kenn Ricci’s group as 10th on this year’s list!

In total, the result was 204,836 flight hours last year.

Warren Buffett’s NetJets, Inc. remained firmly entrenched as king of private jets.

The Berkshire Hathaway unit increased flight hours by 11,038, the second-most in 2023, a 1.8% bump. It clocked 609,515 flight hours.

Despite a 9.7% drop, Thomas Flohr’s Vista Global moved to third.

It passed Delta Air Lines-backed Wheels Up Experience, which dropped to fourth after a 23.8% decline in hours as it shrunk its capped-rate service area.

FlyExclusive, Solairus Aviation, PlaneSense, Jet Linx Aviation, Airshare, and Nicholas Air all held serve in spots five through 10.

Seventh-ranked PlaneSense was the only one of this group to see growth (+6.8% in flight hours).

Sixth-ranked Solairus (-0.8%) and 10th-ranked Nicholas Air (-1.8%) saw relatively small decreases.

The results came against an overall drop of 3.7% in total flight hours, which equates to a 203,648 decline in hours.

Charter and Fractional operator flight hours dropped by 136,340, a 4.6% decline.

Still, 2023 was business aviation’s second-best year in history.

And for the Top 30, they outperformed the market.

Their cumulative decline was just 1.3%, or 19,858 hours.

READ: 2023’s busiest U.S. private jet airports


Out of the 30 largest Charter/Fractional operators in 2023, only 10 saw gains.

After Flexjet (+21,288 hours) and NetJets (+11,038 hours), Volato had the biggest increase in flight hours, up by 7,219 hours.

In its second full year, the world’s largest HondaJet operator had the biggest percentage growth (+137%) on our list.

It entered the Private Jet Card Comparisons/Argus TraqPak rankings for the first time, ranking 16th.

However, growth alone is not an indicator of success.

13th-ranked VeriJet’s rapid increase of 5,389 flight hours (+70.9%) didn’t tell the whole story.

That included a missed attempt at a SPAC-based IPO, multiple lawsuits, and an uncertain future.

Its Founder and CEO, Richard Kane, says the company is still flying and on its way back. It currently has five aircraft on its charter certificate (down from over 20 at its peak), and additional financing is in the works, he says.

Top Private Jet Operators: Full Year 2023

Rank 2023 (22) Parent Company 2022 2023 % Change Hours Change % Share Total Hours
1 (1) NetJets, Inc.* 598,477 609,515 1.8% 11,038 11.50%
2 (2) Flexjet, Inc.* 183,548 204,836 11.6% 21,288 3.87%
3 (4) Vista Global* 151,192 136,511 -9.7% -14,681 2.58%
4 (3) Wheels Up* 167,641 127,685 -23.8% -39,956 2.41%
5 (5) FlyExclusive 56,601 55,211 -2.5% -1,391 1.04%
6 (6) Solairus Aviation 49,983 49,560 -0.8% -423 0.94%
7 (7) PlaneSense 44,593 47,623 6.8% 3,030 0.90%
8 (8) Jet Linx 35,676 32,648 -8.5% -3,028 0.62%
9 (9) Airshare* 24,040 22,114 -8.0% -1,926 0.42%
10 (10) Nicholas Air 21,594 21,203 -1.8% -391 0.40%
11 (13) Jet Aviation 17,677 16,178 -8.5% -1,499 0.31%
12 (NR) Northern Jet* 10,028 15,741 53.1% 5,328 0.29%
13 (30) VeriJet 8,324 14,223 70.9% 5,899 0.27%
14 (14) Clay Lacy Aviation 15,973 13,933 -12.8% -2,040 0.26%
15 (15) Aero Air 15,144 13,044 -13.9% -2,100 0.25%
16 (NR) Volato 5,268 12,487 137.0% 7,219 0.24%
17 (18) Fly Alliance 11,613 12,295 5.9% 682 0.23%
18 (19) Thrive Aviation 10,908 11,580 6.2% 672 0.22%
19 (16) STA Jets 14,684 11,128 -24.2% -3,556 0.21%
20 (24) ATI Jet 9,155 10,024 9.5% 869 0.19%
21 (20) Silverhawk Aviation 10,503 9,885 -5.9% -618 0.19%
22 (21) Worldwide Jet Charter 10,119 9,721 -3.9% -398 0.18%
23 (17) Berry Aviation 13,501 9,615 -28.8% -3,886 0.18%
24 (22) Grandview Aviation 9,539 8,645 -9.4% -894 0.16%
25 (23) Hop A Jet 9,292 8,054 -13.3% -1,238 0.15%
26 (27) Sky Quest 8,698 7,899 -9.2% -799 0.15%
27 (NR) LJ Aviation 7,485 7,831 4.6% 346 0.15%
28 (26) SC Aviation 9,027 7,795 -13.6% -1,232 0.15%
29 (NR) Private Jets, Inc. 8,101 7,730 -4.6% -371 0.15%
30  (NR) Baker Aviation 3,440 7,636 122.0% 4,196 0.14%
Top 30 1,541,822 1,521,965 -1.3% -19,858 28.72%

Source: Private Jet Card Comparisons analysis of Argus TraqPak

Another winner was Northern Jet.

After its merger with SpeedBird, the pair clocked 15,356 hours, a 53.1% gain. That was good for the 12th spot.

Overall, 21 of the top 30 had programmatic offerings, jet cards, memberships, or fractional ownership.

That’s the same as 2022 and two more than 2021.

READ: Meet the more than 20 providers who launched jet cards since 2020

Hello and Goodbye

In addition to Northern Jet and Volato, LJ Aviation (27th), Private Jets, Inc. (29th), and Baker Aviation (30th) made the list of the biggest private jet players.

Of course, a spot on the list can be fleeting.

After Jet It roared from 21st in 2021 to 12th place last year, it fell off the list in 2023 after shutting down.

READ: 2023 busiest private jet flights by state

Fragmented Private Jet Market?

The market remains fragmented for all the M&A activity over the past several years.

The top 30 private jet companies accounted for only 28.7% of total flight hours.

Despite NetJets’ dominance, the market leader accounted for just 11.5% of total flight hours.

Of the 30 biggest private jet companies totals, the top 10 accounted for 85.9%, a six-tenths of a point drop.

In 2023, the top four accounted for 70.9% of the top 30’s flight hours, down from 71.4%.

NetJets accounted for 40% of the top 30 flight hours.

On the other hand, there are over 1,700 operators, accounting for 71.3% of flight hours beyond our list.

Yes, it’s a long-tail industry.

The Big 4: a 5-year analysis

Looking at the biggest players and their journey over the past five years affirms several key facts about the market.

NetJets, Flexjet, Vista, Wheels Up (5-year trend)

Company Change (2019/23) 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
NetJets, Inc. 31.2% 464,574 336,252 546,153 598,477 609,515
Flexjet, Inc. 57.1% 130,379 134,481 178,053 183,686 204,836
Vista Global 108.9% 65,344 71,343 148,094 151,192 136,511
Wheels Up 585.8% 18,618 107,592 175,440 167,641 127,685

Source: Private Jet Card Comparisons analysis of Argus TraqPak data

NetJets, Inc. continues its multi-decade grip on the top spot.

Its 144,941 flight hours gain over five years alone, a 31.2% increase, would have ranked it the third-biggest private jet company in this year’s list.

At the same time, the ratio of flight hours between NetJets, Inc. and Flexjet, Inc. shrunk from about 3.5 to 3.0, even if the gap widened by 70,484 flight hours.

The chasm between the second and third spots increased four-fold during the past half-decade.

By the same token, VistaJet and XO parent Vista Global’s rapid acquisitions, like those of Wheels Up, have given them scale.

Vista Global’s activity in the U.S. increased by 109.9% over the past five years, while Wheels Up’s growth was 585.8%.

Wheels Up, fourth place, has 127,685 hours, more than two times the 55,211 hours of fifth-place FlyExclusive (see the Top 30 list above).

What’s included?

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

As noted, that means adding Part 135 operator Executive Jet Management, a NetJets Inc. company, and NetJets U.S. and NetJets Europe’s flights to/from the U.S.

It also means adding VistaJet, Jet Edge, Air Hamburg, Red Wing Aviation, Talon Air, and XOJet, which fly under Vista Global.

Aircraft arrival and departure information is included on all IFR flights in the U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii), Canada, and the Caribbean.

Lastly, it’s essential to understand the tracking limits 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.

For example, in addition to its operator Flexjet, Flexjet, Inc. owns jet card broker Sentient Jet and on-demand broker FXAir in the U.S.

In 2023, we estimate they combined for over $500 million in revenues off-fleet on other operators.

Likewise, Wheels Up and Vista’s brokers, XO and Apollo Jets, sell a considerable number of charter and jet card flights on third-party operators.

In other words, this list reflects flight hours on fleets owned by the corporate parent, not additional brokered flights.

What’s included for flight providers with multiple operators?

NetJets, Inc., includes relevant NetJets Europe flights and Executive Jet Management; Flexjet, Inc., includes Flexjet and relevant Flairjet flights; Vista Global, includes relevant Air Hamburg flights, Jet Edge, Jet Select, Red Wing Aviation, Talon Air, relevant VistaJet (Malta) flights, and XOJet. Wheels Up totals include the full-year totals of its aircraft management group, which was sold to Airshare in September. Thus, those numbers for Q4 are with Wheels Up. Put another way, Airshare’s numbers do not include its acquisition from Wheels Up. Northern Jet in 2024 includes SpeedBird totals.

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