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Private jet demand is showing no signs of letting up as 2021 winds down. While it appears some jet setters took off for the holidays earlier, global private jet flights for the four weeks that ended December 26 were 21% above the same period in 2019. In the U.S., which accounts for more than 70% of the worldwide market, there were 197,103 private jet flights, according to WingX, 23% above pre-pandemic levels.

The gains were even more pronounced in markets such as Florida, with movements 45% above the same period in 2019. They were 52% higher for Christmas week, even if that was an 8% drop from the previous week. While Texas private flyers seemingly took off earlier – week-to-week numbers were down 25%, they were still 30% higher than the same week two years ago.

In Europe, despite Covid Omicron shutdowns and a 17% week-to-week decline, private flights were 28% ahead of 2019 for the week and 14% up for the trailing four weeks. In the Middle East, flights were 37% higher than in 2019 during a similar one-month span, while Africa saw a 41% increase and South America flying was up by 60%. Growth in Asia was a tempered 18%.

Charter and Fractional Private Jet Trends

While the above numbers reflect the total market for private jet flights, excluding turboprops, the charter and fractional market data show even stronger trends. While week-to-week flights worldwide were down 9%, the Christmas week saw 33,021 charter and fractional flights globally, 45% higher than in 2019. For the trailing four weeks, the for-hire flights were up 38%.

The U.S. continued to lead the way, with charter and fractional flights 48% higher than 2019 levels for the week ended December 26, despite a week-to-week 9% decline. Over the past month, the 104,631 flights tracked by WingX represented a 44% gain from pre-pandemic numbers. What’s more, the charter and fractional flights represented 52.7 of total activity, continuing the decade-long trend away from full ownership to fractional shares, jet cards and on-demand charters.

Florida saw huge gains, with Christmas week flying 64% ahead of 2019, putting numbers up 61% over the trailing four weeks. California and Texas flights were more than 40% above 2019 levels. An analysis by Tuvoli, which offers payment solutions for charter brokers and operators, found airports such as Teterboro, serving New York City, which had been in the red, moved into the black in December. Among the busiest for private jets, flights to the New Jersey airport were up 14% in December.

In Europe, where charter and fractional flights accounted for nearly two-thirds of activity in the past month, numbers were 24% ahead of 2019. On small numbers – 1,674 flights – the Middle East saw a 50% increase in charter and fractional flying.

Private Jet Cost

Despite the strong numbers, NetJets, which had suspended jet card sales during the summer, yesterday teased it is getting ready to restart selling. With airlines canceling flights and cutting routes, there are few signs that private flight demand trends will subside. That’s with price increases. Since September, jet card hourly rates have been up 5.6% and since the beginning of the pandemic, they are up 9.5%, according to buyer’s guide Private Jet Card Comparisons. The average for memberships that offer fixed or capped rates with guaranteed availability is now $9,706 per hour, including 7.5% Federal Excise Tax and fuel surcharges. Light jet rates are rising particularly fast, up 8.3% in the past 90 days to $6,978 per hour.

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