Air Charter Demand Strengthens, but Pricing Still Flat

 - February 9, 2012, 2:30 PM

Demand for charter flights appears to be heading upwards this month, according to the latest projections from online charter portal Avinode. The group’s forward-looking demand index for the next month stood at 114.23 earlier this week–almost 21 points above the month-ago level and more than 14 points above where it was 12 months ago.

But the latest Avinode data on charter prices paints a more ambiguous picture of market conditions. As of Monday, its price index for global operations was at 99.29, slightly down from early January but marginally up from a year ago. In Europe, the price index, at 103.15, was about 7 percent above that from a year ago, but in the U.S. market it dipped slightly to 98.02.

For the most part, Avinode’s current data for actual average flight hour rates being paid as of early February was more encouraging for operators. For example, the average rates for a Bombardier Challenger 604 rose by 1 to 5 percent from three months ago and were up by between 3 and nearly 7 percent from six months ago. Similar trends were apparent for sample Hawker 800 prices and rates for a Cessna Citation Excel, which climbed between 4 and 8 percent in North America but were slightly down in international markets.