The total number of private aviation flights for 2023, compared to 2022, showed a drop of 3.3%. There were mixed results within the various sectors. Fractional had a strong 2023 and in particular higher flight numbers in large cabin fractional aircraft drove the overall large cabin sector to a positive result.

By Aircraft Type

The table below, courtesy of ARGUS, shows the relative movements across cabin sizes between 2023 and 2022. With overall turboprop flights down 4.7% in 2023 compared to 2022. Small cabin and mid-size were down 3.7% and 3.3% respectively and only large cabin flight numbers were up by 0.4%.

 Aircraft Type Part 91 Part 135 Part 91k Total
 Turboprop -1.2% -10.0% +10.6% -4.7%
 Small Cabin Jet -1.1% -13.3% +9.4% -3.7%
 Mid Size Cabin Jet -7.6% -8.0% +8.1% -3.3%
 Large Cabin Jet -0.6% -0.7% +11.9% +0.4%
 Total -2.6% -8.6% +8.9% -3.3%

By User/Owner Type

Looking across Part 91 (owned), Part 135 (charter) and Part 91k (Fractional ownership), the charter market dropped 8.6% in 2023 compared to 2022, with all cabin sizes showing a decrease. Conversely, in the fractional market, all cabin sizes saw increased flight numbers, with large cabin fractional flights up 11.9% in 2023 compared to 2022.

Travis Kuhn, SVP at ARGUS told SherpaReport "2023 was expected to be a year that contracted but the industry did decline more than our initial estimate of 1.0%. As we look into 2024, we expect the Fractional growth levels to cool somewhat and are optimistic that Part 135 activity will start to turn the page into positive territory during the 2nd half of the year. Overall, we expect the North American market to decline between 1.0% - 2.0% in 2024."

Looking forward into the coming year Travis Kuhn said "January is already off to a slow start with winter weather impacts, but we should make up some ground with an extra day due to leap year. Overall, it will be key to watch how spring break and summertime travel break out. Leisure was a key growth area during the pandemic and immediately after but that has definitely calmed down over the last 15 months as we have moved back to a more traditional business aircraft environment that is focused primarily on business operations."

Annual Trends

For a visual view over the last 5 years, the graph below, courtesy of FlightAware, shows the daily number of business aviation flights for each of the years 2019 to 2023. 

The orange line for 2023 is still well above the pre-covid 2019 dark blue line, but in the second half of 2023 it dropped below the record levels of 2022 (light blue) and 2021 (grey). In other words private flight numbers are off their recent record peak, but still fairly robust compared to pre-covid levels.

FlightAware BizAv 2023