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Highest fuel prices in years not slowing private aviation industry

The national average price for jet fuel at airports across the country has hit its highest level in three years, now reaching prices not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, fuel prices for piston aircraft are at their highest levels in nearly seven years.The GlobalAir.com Airport Resource Center, which prides itself in providing the most accurate and up-to-date aircraft fuel prices than anywhere else online, shows the national average price for Jet-A fuel to be the highest since November 2018, and the national average for 100LL to be at its highest since December 2014. The average price for Jet A in November 2021 was $5.22 per gallon, the highest since October and November of 2018, when it averaged $5.23. Outside of that two-month period, you would have to go back to 2014 to find consistently higher prices, with its peak since 2009 coming in September 2012 at $6.09 per gallon. The November 2021 average for 100LL was $5.72 per gallon, the highest since December 2014 when it was $5.96. Its peak since 2009 was also in September 2012, when it was $6.38 per gallon. For charter companies, the reward of full flights outweighs the cost of high aviation fuelFor charter company PrivateFlite Aviation, based in Sellersburg, Indiana at Clark Regional Airport (KJVY), just outside of Louisville, the demand for flights has helped offset the higher fuel costs.General Manager Kelly Lurz said their flights are all booked up through the holiday season. She noted that their fuel cost has eased slightly in the past week, dropping as much as a quarter a gallon, which she attributed to the recent release of 50 million barrels of oil from the national strategic petroleum reserve. Lurz said they have tried to fill up their aircraft at their airport as much as possible to avoid paying higher costs on the road. "The end is hopefully near," she said. "I hope we are done with peak costs." Having the highest fuel prices so far post-pandemic is better for business than the alternative - empty runways. With fuel costs at a historic low two years ago, Lurz said they could not take advantage of the reduced costs then, "because nobody wanted to fly." High demand for flights drives demand for aviation fuelWhile for charter companies and aircraft operators, the higher aircraft fuel prices mean a higher cost of doing business, it also comes at a time when private aviation is seeing its highest level of demand since before the Great Recession of 2008.That can be seen in the latest global business aircraft flight activity report from ARGUS, which showed that flights in November of 2021 were up more than 54%, year to year, with the North American market recording its strongest November on record, and European private air travel was nearly double where it was in 2020. The demand for flights coupled with the need for deals on fuel shows up strong in analytical data. Search-based data from Google shows that web traffic related to searches about fuel prices was up 61% on GlobalAir.com over the past 6 months than it was during the 6 months prior, peaking on Nov. 29, coinciding with the busiest single day ever according to ARGUS statistics, which was Nov. 28. For operators looking to hunt for the best prices in a geographic region, the GlobalAir.com aviation fuel map shows FBO fuel prices for 100LL and Jet-A fuel in a 50-nautical-mile radius around any U.S. airport. The FBO fuel prices are updated every 30 days or sooner, guaranteeing accurate prices for flight planning, no matter where we might be in any supply and demand cycle as we proceed into 2022. .
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