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Global business aviation flight hours are on the rise

Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI) has released its Q2 2015 Business Aviation Index, which tracks flight hours for business aircraft by region, industry and cabin type.


August 13, 2015
By Jet Support Services Inc.

And according to JSSI’s Q2 2015 Business Aviation Index, global flight hours grew 4.9% Quarter-over-Quarter (QoQ). By percentage of peak usage. JSSI concluded business aviation is operating at 83% of the sector’s 2008 peak levels – a 4% increase from the previous quarter.

“Q2 2015’s flight activity is demonstrative of improving economic conditions in key business aviation markets around the world,” said Neil W. Book, JSSI’s president and chief executive officer. “Additionally, the strong growth in more cost-efficient, small cabin planes speaks to how operators are using ‘mission appropriate’ aircraft to run their businesses.”

JSSI Index: By Peak Usage

Q1 2008 marked this decade’s highest recorded activity rate, and, as of Q2 2015, JSSI determined monthly usage to be 27.75 hours per aircraft or 83% of the Q1 2008 peak of 33.45 hours.

“Globally, business aviation continues to draw closer to pre-crisis levels. Utilizing a business jet allows business leaders to reach markets that are not reachable with the airlines, at a pace the airlines can’t fathom. While we haven’t hit 2008 levels, 2015 is shaping up to be a very strong flight hour year and we expect to see this trend continue for the rest of 2015 and into 2016,” remarked Book.    

JSSI Index: By Aircraft Type

Segmenting flight hour data by aircraft type provides direct insights into the spending trends of business aviation users. Helicopters and small cabin aircraft continue to be growth areas, as both experienced moderate QoQ increases in flight hours.

Aircraft Type Helicopter Large Cabin Medium Cabin Small Cabin
QoQ Change 15.1% 3.1% 3.0% 7.1%
YoY Change -10.3% -5.2% 1.7% 3.9%

“During the last quarter we saw a notable increase in flight hours across the board. And while year-over-year we’ve seen some diminution in the use of helicopters and larger business jets, the medium and small cabin aircraft more than made up for the slide. As we saw in the first quarter of 2015, corporate flight departments leveraged smaller aircraft, indicating more regional business and, in the same vein, lower fuel costs likely encouraged more price sensitive operators to fly more,” continued Book.

JSSI Index: By Region

When looking at index data by region, from Q1 2014 to Q2 2015 business aviation grew in all but two markets – Africa and South America.  Surging back from a rough first quarter, the Middle East experienced the highest regional growth with an expansion of 20.4%. 

Region Africa Asia-Pacific Central America Europe Middle East North America  South America
QoQ Change -5.3% 3.8% 1.7% 16.6% 20.4% 2.4% -11.9%
YoY Change -12.1% -2.6% -2.4% 2.5% -13.1% 0.3% -11.1%

JSSI Index: By Industry

By industry, business services (13.3%) and manufacturing (12.1%) were top performers with double digit growth in the last quarter. Conversely, manufacturing (-19.1%) and consumer goods (-15.3%) shrank significantly from Q2 2014.

Industry Aviation Business Services Construction Consumer Goods Financial Services Healthcare Manufacturing Power & Energy Real Estate
QoQ Change 7.9% 13.3% 1.7% -1.9% -10.3% 6.6% 12.1% 1.6% 6.1%
YoY Change 3.4% 7.0% -11.4% -15.3% -10.0% -5.9% -19.1% -8.0% -5.1%

Book concluded, “The last quarter saw a dramatic turnaround for flight hours in the manufacturing sector while, year-over-year, the construction sector experienced strong gains.  With positive growth on all fronts, business services also ramped up use of this vital business tool.”