As the cost of jet-A creeps ever upwards, the price last month at several Washington, D.C.-area airport FBOs hovered near $9 per gallon. Signature Flight Support, the lone provider at Reagan National Airport, posted a pump price of $9.18 a gallon, which was still less than the $9.24 per gallon it listed in early March 2011.
Price of petroleum
Adverse oil prices and cut-throat rivalry have left airlines scrambling to limit losses with the increasingly attractive option of jet-fuel hedging. Although a complex exercise, hedging essentially involves locking in a forward fixed price, allowing an increasing number of airlines to avoid surprises from unforeseen cost fluctuations. Today, jet-fuel hedgers trade contracts in Singapore, Rotterdam, the U.S. Gulf Coast or New York, as well as crude and heating oil or gas oil in London and New York, the two most liquid swaps and options markets.
Oil speculators’ uneasiness over the resurgence of the “Arab spring” is the main factor driving jet-A prices ever closer to–and in some cases beyond–$6 per gallon, according to aviation fuel consultant Mark Wagner. Jet-A prices in the continental U.S. are now averaging $5.64 per gallon, ranging from $3.94 in the Great Lakes region to $6.01 in the Eastern region, current data from AirNav shows.
The price of Brent Crude, which is refined to make jet-A and other fuels, continues to rise and stood at $124.20 per barrel late yesterday.
“We believe the recent improvement in our survey and many of the other key indicators that we monitor, including increased flight activity and lower used inventories, are reflective of an early-stage recovery,” UBS Investment Research U.S. aerospace and defense analyst David Strauss wrote in his firm’s latest monthly business jet market report.
For a pilot worried about whether the next bump in operating costs will be one more incentive for the boss to sell the airplane, recent volatility of oil prices and rising jet-A prices must be disturbing.
Last fall the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research declared that the recession officially ended in June 2009, at the same time defining a recession as the period until the economy reaches its low point. From the perspective of the business aviation industry in the subsequent 19 months, that low point hasn’t moved much. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent in December, which was welcome news.
Due to recent upticks in fuel prices and increasing demand for its services, per-seat charter broker Greenjets raised seat prices by 10 percent, effective November 15.
In addition, the annual fixed trip prices for Greenjetcard members will increase for clients enrolling after that date
In the 12 months since the last NBAA convention, most indicators show that business aviation flight hours dropped as aircraft operators and flight departments were squeezed between a shaky economy and unstable fuel prices. Those two factors resulted in reduced demand for jet fuel.
Airbus COO for customers John Leahy often points to a coming wave of airplane retirements when questioned about airlines’ appetite for new equipment, even during a time of severely slumping traffic and mounting industry losses.
Oil prices have slid back since reaching a peak of $145 a barrel in July, resulting in jet-A prices finally falling by a significant amount. Although they remain sharply higher compared to this time last year, retail jet-A prices at U.S. FBOs have dropped in many cases below $6 per gallon. And while some FBOs at major U.S.
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