by Kerry Lynch – March 22, 2021, 12:11 PM
As business aviation activity rebounds in March, large cabin activity is on pace for 35,000 movements in March,
marking a 20 percent gain and approaching the pre-pandemic January and February 2020 levels of 38,000 and 37,000,
respectively. (Photo: Gulfstream Aerospace)
U.S. business aviation operations are rebounding stronger than expected in March, topping the benchmark of 10,000 flights in a single day, business aviation analyst Argus International reported. That mark was reached on March 12, when 10,323 business aviation movements were logged.
Operations throughout the month are exceeding earlier expectations, with Argus TraqPak data indicating they are on pace to finish 42 percent above March 2020 levels and down just 3 percent from March 2019. This compares with its earlier forecast for March to be up 31 percent from a year earlier and down 10 percent from March 2019.
Leisure traffic is continuing to drive operations. Argus noted that Thursday is traditionally the busiest day of the week, but since has been replaced by Fridays. “Weekend activity continues to remain stronger than normal as well,” Argus said.
Part 91 operations are poised to reach 121,000 flights in March, well above the six-month average of 99,000 monthly movements. Large-cabin activity also appears to be picking up, on pace for 35,000 movements in March, marking a 20 percent gain and approaching the pre-pandemic January and February 2020 levels of 38,000 and 37,000, respectively.
“This is a possible sign that corporate and traditional business travel is beginning to resume, following the vaccine rollout,” said Travis Kuhn, v-p of market intelligence for Argus.
Texas and Florida collectively account for 11 of the top 25 airports for business aviation traffic in the first half of March. Colorado is home to three airports on that list, while California’s Orange County and Van Nuys airports also have been top draws during the month.