The driving forces in business flight activity show that a boost in fractional activity has helped keep numbers up as charter has dipped, but not enough to keep the overall numbers ahead of bizav traffic when compared to last summer. That's the conclusion of the latest analysis from ARGUS TRAQPakFor July, global business aviation flight activity dropped by 3.1% year to year according to ARGUS data. The North American market fell by 3.6% compared to the numbers from 2022. ARGUS had forecast a 2.7% slide. Compared to June, business aircraft flights in North America were down 3.1%.
"July was a little slower than we initially anticipated but still relatively healthy from an activity standpoint," said Travis Kuhn, senior vice president of market intelligence for ARGUS. "We continue to observe slowing activity on the bottom of the charter market while the entire fractional market continues to be a shining star. We expect more of this same environment to continue for at least the next few months."
European Market Stabilizes with Slight Decline
Meanwhile, the European business aviation market displayed a stabilized pattern of decline, marking an 8.1% decrease in activity compared to the same period in the previous year. This decline, however, is juxtaposed with the context of July 2022, which witnessed the highest activity levels ever recorded in the European market.
North American Year-over-Year Flight Activity Analysis
Fractional jet activity gained 4.9% from July 2022, with all four segments showing gains. Notably, the Fractional large cabin market recorded a significant 20.1% year-over-year increase. However, mid-size cabin activity in the Part 91 market was down by 2.3%, while Part 135 activity dropped by 8.5%, primarily due to losses in small cabin and turboprop activity.
In terms of business aircraft categories, large cabin jets exhibited a yearly increase of 2%, acting as a notable exception to the overall downward trend. Small and mid-size cabin aircraft, on the other hand, saw a decrease of 3.5% each, while the turboprop market registered the largest decline at 6.4%.
Month-over-Month Trends Regionally
Regional variations were evident in the FAA data, with the Northwest and Northeast regions experiencing activity increases during the peak summer travel season. The Pacific Northwest saw the largest monthly increase at 19.9%, while the Southwest reported the most significant decrease at 11.5%. The combined activity of Canada and the Caribbean saw a decline of 4.5% month-over-month, with the Caribbean experiencing a 22.5% increase in activity, despite it being the slow summer season.PREVIOUS STORY: Even with warming temperatures, business jet flights keep cooling
Overview for the first half of 2023
ARGUS also recently released its report for the first half of the year. So far, there have been consistent declines in the Part 135 market, a relatively stable Part 91 market, and a robust fractional market, according to the data from ARGUS.
These factors combined to lead to a 3.7% decline in activity during H1 2023. Although the market declined over the previous year, it's important to note that these declines are in comparison to record highs. The North American market remains strong, recording approximately 288,000 flights per month in the first half of 2023, compared to the 260,000 average during 2019.
The European market, though in decline, has shown signs of finding its footing. While still below the peaks of the previous year, the market operates on a predictable monthly cycle with variations in activity based on the seasons. July 2022 remains the busiest month on record for business aviation flights in Europe.
Top Part 135 Operators in H1 2023 The top 10 Part 135 operators in the United States during the first half of 2023 were ranked as follows:
1. Wheels Up: 70,253 flights
2. Executive Jet Management: 39,117 flights
3. Jet Edge: 29,011 flights
4. Exclusive Jets: 27,740 flights
5. Solairus Aviation: 26,265 flights
6. Jet Linx: 15,773 flights
7. Corporate Flight Management: 11,967 flights
8. Jet Aviation: 9,313 flights
9. XOJET: 9,103 flights
10. Clay Lacy Aviation: 8,195 flights
Looking ahead to August 2023, TRAQPak analysts predict a slight year-over-year decrease of 0.1% in overall North American flight activity. The European market, on the other hand, is estimated to experience a more significant decline of 5.3%.