Business aircraft flying grows on back of bullish charter market

Business aircraft flight activity in North America continued its resurgence during the first six months of 2017, with the charter and fractional ownership segments making the greatest gains.

According to the latest TraqPak report, published on 7 August by aviation services company Argus International, instrument flight rules take-offs and landings across the USA and Canada rose by nearly 4% between January and June, while flying hours for the sector climbed by 6% year-on-year.

The Part 135 ad hoc charter sector was the strongest performer for the period, recording a 10% climb in movements and a 12% surge in flying hours. Fractional ownership operators, headed by NetJets and Flexjet, also made solid gains in the six months ended 30 June, with movements and hours up by 5.7% and 8.1%, respectively, the report says.

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Flight activity in the Part 91 sector, governing private and corporate operations, remained flat year-on-year, although overall flight hours climbed by 1.5%, according to Argus.

The data records increased activity across all aircraft categories. Hours flown on large-cabin business jets rose by 10.5% to 475,580h, while the 664,107h recorded on midsize jets marked a 7.3% rise year-on-year. At the lower end, light jet and turboprop flying climbed by 3.5% and 3.2%, respectively to 478,433h and 564,431h.

Argus describes the sector’s performance as “nothing but positive” and predicts a 3% increase in flight activity between August and October.