Avinode Group senior commercial analyst Harry Clarke says the North American industry is finally recovering after many difficult years. “We are seeing real evidence, not just hope, but of business aviation genuinely fighting back globally in Europe and, critically, in the key market of North America," he says. "After the long-term negative impact of the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, industry statistics are now showing a very positive sign of sustained growth."
The company has analysed flight requests submitted for the period 14 August, 2017 to 14 August, 2018 compared to the previous 12 months. "The results are very encouraging," he continues. "The growth shown reflects both increased industry activity and increased use of Avinode. Our data reveals, for example, that all the leading US and Canadian destinations are enjoying increased demand for private air charter traffic.”
McCarran International airport in Las Vegas is the most requested destination for flights originating in North America and also seventh on the list for flights originating outside. Teterboro airport comes second, Van Nuys airport is third followed by Miami-Opa Locka Executive airport and Dulles International airport in Washington DC for domestic flight destination requests. Every airport in the top 10 has shown year-on-year growth in demand with highlights including McCarran up 75 per cent from 53,871 to 94,522 requests; Teterboro up almost exactly 100 per cent from 45,930 to 91,805 requests; and Van Nuys up 103 per cent from 30,572 to 62,156 requests.
When passengers are flying intercontinentally into North America, Teterboro, Opa Locka Executive, Los Angeles International and then Van Nuys are the four most requested arrival airports. Again, every airport in the top 10 has shown year-on-year growth in demand for incoming intercontinental flights. Teterboro, for example, has seen requests rise 56 per cent from 21,604 to 33,804, with Opa Locka Executive seeing demand rise 140 per cent from 5,736 to 13,768 requests.
Of the aircraft themselves Clarke says: “We are seeing rising numbers of charter requests for large-cabin, long-range and ultra-long-range aircraft. The Challenger 604 is the most requested aircraft type for intercontinental flights from North America, alongside five Gulfstream aircraft in the top 10. For domestic flights the Hawker 800XP is currently the most requested aircraft type, as was the case last year.”
Clarke reports a sense of renewed and justified optimism building throughout the industry: "Not only are we watching statistical growth in business aviation, we are also seeing critical changes in the way the industry operates. The question of whether customers will book private charter flights online has been answered; they do. As such, mobile phones will undoubtedly play an increasingly important role in business aviation and I expect to see a growing number of bookings being made through smartphone apps. The challenge ahead is to improve business aviation's online offering so as to be as seamless and transparent as the digital services provided by the rest of the travel industry.”