BUSINESS AVIATION UTILIZATION PLUNGES IN MARCH, REVEALS JSSI DATA
Industry faces harsh realities driven by COVID-19 pandemic
CHICAGO, Apr. 28, 2020 – March 2020 marked a tipping point in business aviation, when the full impact of the COVID-19 crisis was felt industrywide, according to Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI). This assessment is supported by the company’s latest quarterly Business Aviation Index publication, released today.
The Index reports on the global flight activity and utilization of business aircraft, including jets, turboprops and helicopters. JSSI’s data reveals that aircraft flight hours in March were 12.9% lower than in February and were the lowest recorded flight hours for the month of March since the Great Financial Crisis. Hours flown in the first quarter of 2020 were down 5.7% when compared to the same quarter last year.
“As expected, March flight hours declined steeply in the second half of the month. As the world economy began to shut down, so did business jet travel,” said Neil Book, president and CEO of JSSI.
With the majority of the world’s business aviation fleet based in North America, the sudden drop-off in March flight activity was particularly apparent in this region. There was a 16.9% reduction versus February and activity for the month was 25% lower than March 2019.
Every region across the globe saw significant declines in flight activity, with all continents experiencing a steep drop in flight hours in March versus February. The plummet in flight hours was particularly significant when compared to the same period in 2019 when flight hours were generally increasing and were expected to do so again this year.
Overall, Europe was a bit of an anomaly in March, as the region only recorded a 5.9% drop in activity versus February, but showed an increase of 5.1% over March 2019. This surge can be attributed to the frenzy of business aircraft activity in the region that preceded the impending closure of international borders and almost total shut down.
JSSI’s flight hour data by aircraft type reflects that the most substantial drop in March 2020 activity occurred for large-cabin jets, with the cabin type recording a 15.5% decrease in flight hours versus February. This is believed to be a result of the virtual halt for long-range, cross-continental business jet travel caused by the coronavirus emergency during the second half of March. In contrast, less pronounced utilization declines in other aircraft types were likely to have been driven by pockets of accelerated activity for domestic charter operations, air ambulance, and medical supply transport to provide connectivity and support in the wake of this crisis.
JSSI’s utilization data provides early indicators and useful insights into the state of current economic conditions globally. Given that the major slowdown in business aircraft travel occurred in mid-March, forthcoming results from April and the remainder of the second quarter will provide a larger data sample to assess the true impact of COVID-19, particularly in North America and Europe.
“Based on the real-time data available to us, we expect April flight hours to be down in excess of 75%. We expect to see a very modest increase in the month of May from April flight hours, as a number of countries begin to slowly open back up,” added Book.
Chiara Lawrance / Katie Edgerley
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About Jet Support Services, Inc.
For more than 30 years, Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI), has been the leading independent provider of maintenance support and financial services to the business aviation industry. The company provides hourly cost maintenance programs to manage the often unpredictable costs of operating and maintaining virtually all makes and models of aircraft, engines and auxiliary power units (APUs). JSSI is responsible for maintaining in excess of 2,000 business jets, regional jets and helicopters across the globe and serves customers through an infrastructure of certified technical advisors.
JSSI’s portfolio of companies leverage its technical knowledge, experience, buying power and data to provide support at every stage of the aircraft life cycle; from aircraft acquisition to aircraft teardown and part out. Other JSSI services:
JSSI Parts & Leasing provides aircraft parts, leasing and supply chain solutions. From a single bolt to a complete engine, customers gain access to a vast inventory of aircraft parts, engines and APUs and a global vendor network to source assets for anything that flies. All backed by the buying power and expertise of one of the largest purchasers of parts and maintenance services in the aviation industry. For more information, visit jssiparts.com.
JSSI Advisory Services utilizes JSSI’s technical expertise and global network to inspect aircraft, perform ASA-certified on-site and desktop appraisals, assist with maintenance cost planning, manage maintenance events, and provide insurance claims management. JSSI’s dedicated Asset Monitoring Platform (AMP), is available to aviation lenders as a tool to assist in the mitigation of risk and the management of financed aircraft. For more information, visit jetsupport.com/advisory-services.
Conklin & de Decker is a leader in aviation research, consulting and education. The mission of Conklin & de Decker is to enable the general aviation industry to make more informed decisions when dealing with the purchase, operation and disposition of aircraft by furnishing objective and impartial information. For more information, visit conklindd.com.
Tracware Limited is an innovative developer and global provider of aviation process control software to clients including continuing airworthiness management organizations (CAMOs), aircraft and component maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and parts distributors. Tracware’s Aerotrac software offers a 360-degree view of all MRO functions and brings complete control to business processes. For more information, visit tracware.com.