NBAA study rich in data but classified

 - January 17, 2008, 11:51 AM

A stroll through NBAA’s latest benchmark survey reveals a treasure trove of information from no fewer than 737 flight departments. Data has been broken down into detailed charts and tables, providing such operational profiles as compensation and benefit figures, employee levels, fleet characteristics, utilization, fuel consumption, training and maintenance budgets, fuel purchase statistics, maintenance sources, hiring requirements and much more. In all, there are 188 separate charts in 19 main subject areas encompassing 319 pages. The input represents 1,806 aircraft, 5,517 full-time employees and 802 part-time workers.

The data included in the report has not been weighted to present a picture of activity for all corporate flight departments, explained NBAA. “Rather, data is grouped into composites of departments of various sizes, in different locations and in different industries.” The study presents a profile of what a “typical flight department with particular characteristics looks like,” rather than an estimate of what flight departments are doing in aggregate.

Great data, but classified information, solely for the eyes of association members. NBAA said members can “compare their own operations with a composite of similar flight departments, where departments are differentiated by corporate size (sales or assets), aviation department size (number of aircraft, number of employees), location (FAA region) and industry.

AIN received a courtesy copy of the survey, but the association said virtually all of the information was not for publication. However, we did obtain permission to “go on the record” with what the survey found from its questions about utilization, specifically the average flight hours per aircraft.

According to the findings, some aircraft types are flying more and others less, compared with the results of a 1997 survey contained in one of NBAA’s first benchmark studies. For example, the average annual flight time in 2001 for twin-turbine helicopters was 270 hours per aircraft, compared with 339 hours each in 1997. But the flight hours per aircraft for heavy jets (more than 35,000 pounds mtow) increased from an average of 463 hours in 1997 to 479 hours in 2001. The per-aircraft time decreased in 2001 compared with 1997 for turboprops, light jets (under 20,000 pounds mtow) and medium jets (20,000 pounds to 35,000 pounds mtow).

Turboprops suffered the greatest reduction, from an average annual rate of 406 hours in 1997 down to 220 hours per light turboprop (under 6,000 pounds mtow), 314 hours per medium propjet (6,000 pounds to 12,500 pounds mtow) and 359 hours for heavy turboprops (more than 12,500 pounds mtow).