US flight activity up 2.3% in first half


Desert Jet mid-size charter fleet

US business aircraft flight activity during the first half of 2018 was up by 2.3% over that of the first half of 2017, according to a new report by aircraft market research company Argus.

Argus tracks flight movements of business jets and turboprops flying internally within the US, as well as international arrivals and departures from US airports.

Overall there were a total of 1,531,473 business aircraft flights in the first half of 2018, up from 1,496,490 in 2017.

The rise in overall movements was largely due to an increase in Part 136 (Charter) movements. Across all aircraft categories, charter movements increased by 4.5% over the previous year, much higher than the 1.4% rise in private movements and the 0.4% gain in fractional operations.

Large-cabin movements across all operational categories saw a 3.8% rise, with 235,848 in the first half of the year. Mid-size cabin movements saw the second biggest gain with 2.9%.

Gama Aviation completed the greatest number of charter movements, with its 72,885 flights being an 18.2% increase on the number of flights in 2017. Gama Aviation’s movements include those on behalf of Wheels Up. The number of aircraft operating flights using Gama flight numbers also increased by 18.2% in the first half of the year.

The biggest decline in flight hours was seen at Travel Management Company. Its 33.5% drop in flight movements came with a 14.5% decline in the number of aircraft operated.