TRAQPak Report Shows Big Boost for January Flights

by PBJ Staff / Mar 06, 2018

Private Jet Red Carpet

You may have already read our article explaining that there’s been a gradual uptake in bizjet sales. However, it would appear the increased demand for aircraft goes far beyond the private sector, according to the latest TRAQPak data released by Argus International.

TRAQPak is a respected source of objective data within the aviation industry formed in 1995. Calling themselves “the most sophisticated aircraft activity analysis and market intelligent reporting tool” means their work comes under close scrutiny. It is their job to assist the industry with their intel and to help manage risk.

IN recent days ARGUS International released the February 2018 Aircraft Activity Report, which analyses flight data in the US and Canada collected in January. It is measured and compared to the results of previous months and years. And their latest report makes for very happy reading for business aircraft companies.

4% increase

Flights in the US January have shown a vast increase year-on-year, with figures reflecting a 4% upwards trend. Experts had already predicted January would be a good month, anticipating a rise of 3.3%, but the real figures were even more impressive. TRAQPak experts now expect to see a 3.8% rise in February, though it remains to be seen if their predictions are once again proven to be overly cautious.

This is nothing new, either. For the past five years, January figures have seen a gradual increase. Back in 2013, there were a combined total of around 217,000 flights. This year, that figure has increased by more than 10% to 240,000. Interestingly, there has not been a single year in this time span with a downtrend. The number of flights has increased each year without fail. It would appear there is no direct trend to the times of the flights, either. Weekday flying increased 2.8% compared to 2017, and for weekends the jump was 8.5%.

Part 135 was the biggest gainer in 2018, up 8% in total. Fractional activity was the next biggest hitter with an increase of 2.2%, edging Part 91 which showed activity increases of 1.5% after a tricky December period.

Turboprops in high demand

When separated by aircraft type, turboprops proved the most popular trend, up 5.7% from 2017. Bigger jets proved more popular: large jets went up 4%, mid-size jets had a 3.1% increase, and light jets posted numbers that were 2.8% higher than the year before.

Turboprop Aircraft

Turboprops are in high demand and up 5.7% from 2017.

Whilst January’s stats were vastly superior in the year-on-year comparison, they were not too different overall from December 2017. The increase in flights from the two consecutive months was negligible – 0.1% more in January than December. But despite the similar numbers posted overall, the makeup was fairly different.

In the main, results were in the red. Part 91 was the only type to record an increase – 2.7% – but given the minor dips in the other categories, this was enough to account for the marginal 0.1% increase for the month as a whole. Part 135 dipped by 1.8%, whilst Fractional activity was down by 4%. Light and mid-size jet activity was down as a whole, but a 0.6% increase in turboprop use and a significant 3.7% bump for large jets helped salvage the month-over-month figures to make it a successful January showing.

Southeast in demand

Gulfstream Jet

Although Super Long Range Jets posted the second fewest flights of all the categories, their 8,177 departures managed to burn through 97.81 million gallons of fuel.

Whilst some parts of the US have a fairly even split of flights, others pull out in front as clear leaders. The Northern and central West Coast regions all posted figures between 23,276 – 29,317, indicating some consistency. But the Southeast was far out in front with 58,234 flights – nearly double that of its closest competitor.
TRAQPak were sure to include statistics on the amount of fuel consumed in these flights, too. Unsurprisingly, super long-range jets were head and shoulders out in front. Their 8,177 departures were the second fewest of all the categories, yet these flights managed to burn through 97.81 million gallons of fuel.

Very light jets consumed the least fuel of all the categories, with 6,809 departures accounting for just 8.72 million gallons of fuel. However, it was single engine turboprops which saw the highest number of departures per gallon. To be precise, there were 27,703 departures from 21.06 million gallons of fuel. This edged out multi-engine turboprops, which had 48,219 fights from 58.39 million gallons.

What does this mean for the aviation industry?

Since the turn of the year, there has been a lot of positive news flowing into the aviation industry. First, the introduction of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, H.R.1 offered lucrative options for both buyers and sellers of aircraft. This was followed shortly by input from JETNET, who subsequently proclaimed the preowned aircraft to be moving into a seller’s market due to decreasing supply.

Now, with this latest TRAQPak report, it seems clear there is just as much thirst for the business sector as well. The coming together of these aspects all at once makes it an exciting time to be involved in the aviation sector, whether as a buyer, seller, or lending support to a mainline carrier.

ARGUS International’s TRAQPak data doesn’t go into much depth on the reasons behind the peaks and troughs in the industry. Instead, the Aircraft Activity Report has a clinical focus on the statistics themselves. But, when factoring in the other current news in the aviation, 2018 is certainly shaping up to be an exciting year.

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