Average monthly business aircraft utilization reached 27.97 flight hours during the first three months of the year, marking the highest average level in any first quarter since 2008, according to maintenance support provider Jet Support Services Inc. (JSSI).
JSSI's first-quarter 2018 Business Aviation Index, released May 1, found that business aviation average flight hours were up 2.9 percent year-over-year. The index tracks utilization of 2,000 business jets, turboprops, and helicopters worldwide, reporting average flight hours flown on a monthly basis by region, industry, and cabin type.
“The end of 2017 saw the highest flight hour activity since the peaks of 2008. While the first three months of the year often sees a material drop in flight hours, this first quarter dropped by only 0.3 percent,” said JSSI president and CEO Neil Book. “This strong start to 2018 is a positive sign and indicator for global markets.”
According to JSSI, the aviation sector led the growth, with an 8.4 percent increase in flight activity. Healthcare similarly helped drive this growth, with an increase of 8.3 percent, followed by the power and energy sector at 7.3 percent. The consumer goods sector, however, saw an 8.3 percent decline in business aviation activity, and the manufacturing sector reported a 10.4 percent decrease.
Average flight hours were up 12.3 percent year-over-year in Europe and 8.2 percent in South America. However, activity slid 5.4 percent year-over-year in the Asia-Pacific region and 11.7 percent in the Middle East. Average North American flight hours also softened by 1.8 percent year over year.