Business Aviation Growth At a ‘Record High,’ Report Says

The United States has seen the strongest growth in business jet travel over the past two years. [Courtesy: Boeing]

Business aviation travel is up in the U.S. and around the world, outpacing activity levels reported this time last year, according to a new report.

Business jet travel has seen a resurgence across the board globally in the past two years, but it's in the U.S. where growth has been strongest, particularly when it comes to owned and managed aircraft, according to WingX, which provides aviation business intelligence.

Telling January Numbers

In January, bizjet traffic was up 26 percent in the U.S. compared to the same time last year and up 19 percent on business travel reported in January 2019 before the pandemic hit. 

The increase also shows how travel has shifted, according to the report.

“There is clear evidence of a shift in the recovery toward owned and managed aircraft, with these operators flying respectively 24 percent and 32 percent more than two years ago,” WingX said.

Internationally, business travel has also seen similar double-digit growth in demand, with traffic up 25 percent this month in comparison to January 2021, and 16 percent more than reported in January 2020.

"The impetus now appears to be coming from aircraft owners, with private and corporate flight departments flying 21 percent more than January two years ago," WingX said. "Charter and fractional operators are still flying at record highs, but with growth moderating compared to the end of last year."

WingX's findings echo similar predictions from the industry and Wall Street for the new year. In November, for example, a Morgan Stanley global corporate travel survey projected that private jet use among corporate operators would increase in 2022. 

Bizjet recovery is also being clocked at the fuel pump. “Business aviation is seeing a strong demand for fuel in response to the pandemic as many rediscover the value of private aviation as an essential mode of transportation and a key business tool,” National Air Transportation Association senior vice president Ryan Waguespack told FLYING last month.

The growth in business travel stands in contrast to fluctuations in recovery in the global commercial and cargo sectors, WingX said. Scheduled airline network capacity is down 33 percent this month compared to that reported in January 2020 before the onset of the pandemic. Cargo activity, which saw increases during the pandemic, has stalled out with activity in January 2022 reported at similar levels compared to January 2021 and January 2020.

Overall, the growth in the business aviation sector is "at a record high, and well ahead of January 2021," WingX said, offering cautious optimism. "Stronger growth may resume as Omicron dissipates, although there are increasing risks in the macroeconomic and geopolitical environment which could easily undermine flight demand in the next few months."

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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