Global business aircraft utilization swung higher in the fourth quarter and all of 2018 without being affected by a slight drop in Part 91 flights, according to the Jet Support Services Inc. (JSSI) Business Aviation Index released today. The index reported 2018 flight activity year-over-year increases of 4.9 percent in the quarter and 4.7 percent for 2018. Part 91 flight activity was down 1.5 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter, while Part 135 jumped 9.5 percent in the same period.
“Despite the dramatic market swings that defined the end of the year, flight hours were up significantly for both the quarter and the year, contributing to 2018 being one of the strongest years in a decade,” said JSSI president and CEO Neil Book. About 2,000 business jets, turboprops, and helicopters from around the world are tracked by the index, which reports average flight hours flown on a monthly basis by region, industry, and cabin type.
Among the nine industries tracked by the index that utilize business aircraft, only three of them saw gains last year: aviation, 9.1 percent; business services, 5.4 percent; and power and energy; 3.6 percent. Consumer goods flight activity saw the steepest year-over-year decline in the fourth quarter, at 6.1 percent, followed by real estate (down 4.8 percent) and manufacturing (down 3.9 percent).
Regions with the highest increases in business aircraft utilization last year were Africa, up 17.4 percent; Europe, 8.8 percent; and South America, 8.1 percent. North America rose 2.8 percent.
Light and large-cabin jets, turboprops, and helicopters all saw higher utilization last year, while midsize jets declined by 2.3 percent.