The US continues to lead the recovery in business jet flights, with traffic reaching a post-pandemic peak, according to the latest data from aviation analyst WINGX Advance.

More than 80% of this month’s global business aviation flights originated in the North American market. In the US, the number of sectors flown was 0.5% up in the first half of the March compared with the same period of last year. Flight hours were just 2% down. On March 15th, the post-pandemic rolling seven-day activity in the US peaked at 6,002 daily sectors; the second highest daily activity since January 2020.

Richard Koe, MD of WINGX, said US business aviation was now showing clear growth on the pre-pandemic period of last year. The large unfettered domestic market is a big factor,” Koe told Corporate Jet Investor. “Although stringent state lockdowns persistently subdued flight activity in the likes of California and New Jersey, business aviation in largely-unlocked Florida has thrived.”

During the lockdown, much of the demand for private jet flight has been for leisure and lifestyle reasons, he added. “Remote getaway destinations in states such as Wyoming, Arizona and Colorado have been getting a lot of visitors.”

‘Remote getaway destinations’

Business jet traffic was up in private, fractional, management and branded charter activity, compared with March 2020. Fractional activity had shown the biggest gains – up by 4%. The light jet category was 10% up, while growth in very light jets has reached 20%. According to the latest WingX report: “NetJets and Flexjet are up this month, also smaller operators like AirShare and PlaneSense. The busiest airports for the fractional operators are Palm Beach and Dallas Love Field.”

Branded charter operators in the US have increased sectors by 3% this year, with  entry level and very light jets showing strong growth as sectors rise by 20%. Midsize and super midsize jet flight hours have climbed by nearly 10% compared with pre-pandemic levels.

But heavy jet operations in the charter market remain down by 12%. Ultra-long-range hours are down by 25%, reflecting the continuing barrier of international traffic restrictions. The busiest US state for charter demand is Florida, with almost double the number of flights compared with the next busiest, California. At least five airports in Florida have seen more than 25% growth in departures compared with 2020.

Busiest US state

“The operators best equipped to weather the storm have been those with the right mix of inventory, willingness to maintain full operations, flexibility around product type and pricing, and focus on one core customer sector,” Koe told Corporate Jet Investor. “Most of these lessons would apply to any industry sector, but as the industry has been in the cross-hairs of this crisis, its suppliers have needed to be particularly adaptable and decisive.”

In Europe, the recovery in private jet flights had proved more subdued. European flight activity remained well below pre-pandemic trends. Compared with airline flights, which plunged by more than 72% in the first half of March, business aviation is relatively robust at 16% below normal. Cargo operations were nearly almost 15% up year-on-year. Private and corporate flight departments are described as “by far the most robust”, with activity just 1% below normal this month.

Elsewhere, outside Europe and the US, 53% of this month’s business aviation activity was accounted for by turboprop aircraft, with much of this in Australia. Mexico was the busiest business jet market, with sectors down by 20%. Business jet activity in India, Nigeria, China, United Arab Emirates was said to be well up compared with March 2020. In the wider Asian region, the seven-day rolling average activity had returned to February 2020 levels. “In Asia, especially China, flight activity is already reflecting the recovery from the lockdown in progress a year ago,” said Koe.


US business aviation recovery – at a glance

  • -US leads recovery in business jet flights
  • -Over 80% of this month’s global business aviation flights originated in the North America
  • -Number of sectors flown in US was 0.5% up in the first half of the March 2021
  • -European business aviation activity was 16% below normal in first half of March 2021
  • -Cargo operations were nearly 15% up year-on-year
  • -Outside Europe and the US, 53% of this month’s business aviation activity was accounted for by turboprop aircraft. Mexico was the busiest business jet market.


Source: WINGX Advance.


“NetJets [pictured] and Flexjet are up this month …”, according to aviation analyst  WINGX.

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