Charter Demand Softens, Long-term Recovery Continues

 - February 1, 2011, 8:54 AM

Demand for private charter flights continued to dip at the end of January in line with seasonal expectations following the spike in bookings around the Christmas and New Year holidays. According to the latest forward-looking index from online charter portal Avinode, projected demand for the 30 days from January 31 stood at 84.03, which was less than half the level of 170.21 recorded a month earlier. However, for the second month running, there was more evidence of a longer-term recovery in that the January 31 demand index was almost 24 points ahead of the 60.64 mark recorded last year. This improvement was also reflected in Avinode’s global price index, which reached 98.20 on January 31�more than six points ahead of the same day 12 months earlier. Index numbers for January 31 this year suggest stronger recovery in the U.S. market, where the index stood at 98.77, ahead of Europe’s 95.93. However, once again, current (rather than projected) flight hour rates did show some signs of softening in the North American market. Charter prices also eroded slightly last month, with a Cessna Citation Excel fetching an average of $3,148 (€2,298) per hour in North America, down $130 from early January. Average rates for a Hawker 800 and a Challenger 604 also slid, but to a lesser degree, to $3,347 (€2,443) and $4,958 (€3,619), respectively. Internationally, the respective averages were €2,716 ($3,721), €3,132 ($4,291) and €4,784 ($6,554).