FlyExclusive, Solairus, Airshare, Nicholas Air gain on Top 135/91K operators list
NetJets, Flexjet, Wheels Up, Vista Global, and Jet Linx continue in the top 5 spots as FlyExclusive jumps from #8 to #6
Analyzing the latest data from Argus TraqPak from the first six months of 2021, there is no change in ranking the five largest private jet providers.
Kenny Dichter and Wheels Up doled out less than $100 million in cash to build the second-largest private jet operator with a $2 billion valuation
When Wheels Up’s acquired 5th-biggest Part 135 charter operator Mountain Aviation in January, it pushed the group past Directional Aviation’s Flexjet as the second-largest for-hire private aircraft operator in the U.S. For Wheels Up founder and CEO Kenny Dichter, it was a day at the beach compared to another cold New York winter morning in early 2019. At that point, Wheels Up didn’t operate a single aircraft. Founded in 2013, its owned and leased fleet was outsourced to Gama Aviation Signature. Wheels Up was a big brand. Yet, it was merely a marketing organization selling memberships onto what was then mainly a fleet of King Air 350i turboprops.
NetJets stayed firmly in the top spot among U.S. private jet operators as Wheels Up zoomed from 11th to 3rd place, while Flexjet, Vista Global, and Jet Linx each made gains
Charter (Part 135) and Fractional Operator (Part 91k) flights accounted for 52.5% of total U.S. private aviation flight hours, pushing Part 91 flying below the half-century mark for the first time, according to Argus TRAQPak data dating back to 2007
The 10 largest U.S. charter and fractional operators accounted for 44.3% of Part 91k/135 activity and 23.2% of total business aviation flight hours
TRAQPak’s 2021 forecast indicates full recovery tilted towards second-half
The takeaways from the 2020 Argus TRAQPak annual review of private jet activity in the U.S. underscores two key trends: Consolidation and acceleration of what has a nearly decade-long move from full private jet ownership to fractional shares, leases, jet cards, and on-demand charter. Looking ahead, Argus analysts don’t expect the total industry to return to pre-COVID-19 numbers until the second half of 2021.
Despite consolidation, the 25 largest Part 135 and 91K operators account for only 25% of the U.S. private jet market
Why you won’t find Wheels Up when you look at lists of private aviation operators
Sizing the U.S. private jet market between Part 91, Part 91K fractional and Part 135 charter operators
8 of the 10 largest companies are led by the founder or family member
Here’s a big difference between the private jet market and the airlines. Just 10 airlines account for 90% of the domestic market for scheduled passenger traffic. Four companies – Delta Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines – are responsible for two-thirds of U.S. flights.
Despite consolidation, business aviation remains fragmented. An analysis by Private Jet Card Comparisons of various reports from Argus TRAQPak and other data shows the 25 largest operators of charter and fractional fleets together account for just 25% of all U.S. flying.