People are utilizing business jets at an increasing rate in 2018, setting a pace that could make for the highest level of usage since before the recession.
According to the US Federal Aviation Administration’s latest business jet report, operations (takeoffs and landings) have been up year over year each month through June by an average of 1.7 percent.
That puts the industry on track to top the total of 4.49 million operations in 2017, which would mark the best overall year since 2007.
The FAA’s rolling 12-month total of operations dating back to last July was 4.52 million, up 2.5 percent from the same period during the previous two years.
The increase in usage is yet another positive sign, along with indicators like a dwindling used inventory, for Wichita manufacturers like the Textron Inc. division of Textron Aviation and Bombardier Learjet that demand for new aircraft could continue to rise.
The CEOs of both companies said following their latest earnings report that sales activity was increasing, though that had yet to translate to any employment-driving production increase announcements.
In the case of the locally built Learjet for Bombardier, CEO Alain Bellemare said rates on that product were being kept intentionally low to match supply with demand for what is a more expensive aircraft in the segment in which it competes.
Meanwhile, Textron CEO Scott Donnelly said the company had continued to trade volume for price, but that if pricing continued to improve that it would be ready to potentially boost rates on products like its locally built Cessna Citation jets.
“If things continue strengthening and we need to take (rates) up … we have the flexibility to do that,” Donnelly said.