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Business Jet Flight Hours Approach Pre-Recession Levels

By Neil W. Book,
JSSI President and CEO

By percentage of peak usage, during the second quarter of 2015, business aviation operated at 83% of its 2008 peak levels, a 4% increase from the previous quarter. For the second quarter, Global flight hours grew 4.9% Quarter-over-Quarter (QoQ).

Q2 2015’s flight activity is demonstrative of improving economic conditions in key business aviation markets around the world. Additionally, the strong growth in more cost-efficient, small cabin planes speaks to how operators are using ‘mission appropriate’ aircraft to run their businesses.

Peak Usage
According to JSSI’s Q2 2015 Business Aviation Index, Q1 2008 marked this decade’s highest recorded activity rate, and, as of Q2 2015, monthly usage was 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.   

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.

  Helicopter Large Cabin Medium Cabin Small Cabin
QoQ 15.1% 3.1% 3.0% 7.1%
YoY -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.

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%.

  Africa Asia-Pacific Central America Europe Middle East North America South America
QoQ -5.3% 3.8% 1.7% 16.6% 20.4% 2.4% -11.9%
YoY -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.

Aviation Business Services Constr. Consumer Goods Financial Services Healthcare Manuf. Energy Real Estate
QoQ 7.9% 13.3% 1.7% -1.9% -10.3% 6.6% 12.1% 1.6% 6.1%
YoY 3.4% 7.0% 11.4% -15.3% -10.0% -5.9% -19.1% -8.0% -5.1%​

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.

About Neil W. Book
As President and Chief Executive Officer of Jet Support Services, Inc., Neil W. Book provides leadership and direction to the entire organization. JSSI is a leading provider of hourly cost maintenance programs for the business aviation industry, Prior to joining JSSI, he served as Vice President of Mobility for Juniper Networks, directing its mobile security business unit. His role at Juniper began in 2010, in connection with their acquisition of SMobile Systems, where he had served as President and Chief Executive Officer. Book began his career at AT&T where he held various management positions. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware, class of 1999.

Posted on: October 19, 2015