Small Jet, Turboprop Utilization Return To Pre-COVID-19 Levels, Data Shows

Credit: Gulfstream

Worldwide turboprop utilization in July reached its highest levels so far in 2020, with 85,574 multi-engine flight hours and 61,510 single-engine flight hours, according to Aviation Week Intelligence Network flight tracking data. 

Turboprop utilization completed its recovery to pre-COVID-19 travel lockdown levels in late June after hitting lows in April, Aviation Week data shows.

Business jet utilization, meanwhile, was higher in July than in April and May, but hours have not returned to levels found earlier in the year. Large jet activity continues to lag from international travel restrictions. Large jet activity totaled 91,970 hr. in July, up from 76,716 in June, but down from January figures of 143,595 hr. Large jet activity hit a low in April with 30,703 hr. flown. 

Midsize jet activity in July totaled 106,383 hr. up from 89,934 in June but down from a 2020 high of 117,926 hr. in February. Hours are up dramatically, however, from an April low of 29,489 hr.

Small jet activity, meanwhile, has returned to pre-COVID levels with 120,687 flight hours in July, a yearly high. Hours rose from 104,517 in June and from an April low of 40,332. 

According to WingX, business aviation is coming back the strongest in Europe, with July-August trends up to 89% of comparative 2019 activity. Central Europe activity is seeing the highest levels of recovery. 

In the U.S., for the first time since the pandemic struck, Florida is no longer the busiest state. Its year-over-year growth trend, resilient in June and July, was close to flat in August, WingX says. Colorado and Arizona appear to be popular as getaway destinations, with flight hours trending at least 5% above July and August 2019 levels. East Coast states, such as New York and New Jersey, are about 30% behind normal activity.

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.