Fractional Flights Poised To Climb in 2023

 - March 14, 2023, 12:00 PM
NetJets is expected to grow its fleet to 1,000 aircraft in 2023, according to the SherpaReport. (Photo: NetJets)

Fractional aircraft flights, which reached a new record and surpassed the growth of charter and wholly owned flights last year, are expected to continue an upward trajectory in 2023, according to SherpaReport.

“The next 12 months will continue to be very busy for the fractional market,” said SherpaReport president Nick Copley. “The reasons are multifaceted, but key trends for increased activity relate to a wider variety of aircraft, shorter wait times to gain access to fractional ownership, a more favorable buyer’s market, flexible structures, and an increased focus on sustainability.”

All fractional providers have placed orders for new aircraft to be delivered beginning in 2023, Copley pointed out, proving a greater variety of options from helicopters and turboprops to ultra-long-range jets. “Fractional companies are not just replacing existing aircraft, they are adding to their fleets,” he said. “NetJets, for example, is aiming to have 1,000 aircraft in its fleet by end of 2023—up from 750 before the pandemic.”

As fleets expand, waitlists to buy new fractional shares are easing. SherpaReport noted wait times have varied from several months to several years, but the anticipated addition of hundreds of aircraft will enable new owners to enter the market.

“Smaller fractional providers, which offer smaller aircraft, generally have had shorter wait times,” Copely noted. “Whereas at NetJets, to get a fractional share in an entry-level light jet like a Phenom 300 meant a wait of over a year, so getting a share on a Pilatus PC-24 at PlaneSense would be much faster.”

Copley also anticipates a buyer’s market to begin to emerge this year as the preowned business aircraft market levels out and supply increases. In addition, he expects new financing and cost structures to become more available and favorable to the owner.

Further, Copley said the industry’s efforts to address sustainability may assuage potential customers who have had environmental concerns.

“While concerns about a changing economy and higher interest rates in many parts of the globe may affect the number of people ready to purchase a fraction of an aircraft, fractional ownership should continue growth in 2023 and beyond,” Copley concluded. “The number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals continues to increase globally. In addition, commercial flying is plagued with more headaches and delays now than it was before Covid-19.”