Business aviation flight hours in the final quarter of 2017 were the highest on record for this period, according to the latest figures released by Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI). Worldwide, business aviation flight hours increased 4.5 percent year on year.

“Flight hour utilisation is cyclical, with peak hours occurring over the busy summer months in the third quarter,” said Neil W Book, president and CEO of JSSI.

“On average, flight hours dip 4 percent in the fourth quarter. However, in 2017 we saw a decrease of just 0.4 percent during the same period. “Flight hour activity has always been a strong indicator of the overall health of the economy. The increase in average flight hours of 4.5 percent year to date indicates a continued strengthening of the global economy,” added Book.

The JSSI Business Aviation Index tracks and reports on the global flight activity and utilisation of 2,000 business aircraft worldwide, including jets, turboprops and helicopters. The report calculates the average flight hours flown per aircraft on a monthly basis and organises this data by region, industry and cabin type. This ultimately provides useful insights into the state of global economic conditions.

Key findings in the fourth-quarter data

  • Average flight hours increased 4.5 percent year to date and 6.1 percent year over year. Average aircraft utilization of 28.65 hours for the fourth quarter represents the highest level during this period of any year on record.
  • The nine industries within the latest index showed mixed results. The consumer goods sector reported a quarter-over-quarter increase in average flight hours of 6.2 percent and the construction sector reported an increase of 5.2 percent. The greatest decrease was seen in the manufacturing sector, with a quarter-over-quarter reduction in flight activity of 10.1 percent. The power and energy sector also reported a decrease in activity of 8.3 percent. Year-over-year results for the aviation, business services, and healthcare sectors saw activity increases of more than 12 percent for all three.
  • Seven key regions are sampled in the index. Significant quarter-over-quarter increases were reported in Central America, with a 9.3 percent increase in average flight hours; and Asia-Pacific, with an 8.6 percent increase. The largest quarter-over-quarter decrease was seen in the Middle East, with a drop of 20 percent from the third quarter.
  • All regions, with the exception of the Middle East, reported year-over-year increases in flight activity. The largest increases were seen in Europe, with an 11.6 percent increase, and Central America, with an 11 percent increase over 2016.
  • North America reported an increase in average flight hours of 3.6 percent year to date, with an increase of 1.4 percent year over year.

Click here for a full copy of the latest JSSI Business Aviation Index.