2017’s fourth quarter was the busiest in a decade, according to Jet Support Services, Inc.’s newly released 2017 year-end flight activity business aviation index, which tracks flight hours of approximately 2,000 business aircraft worldwide. And everyone should be happy that it was.
“Flight hour activity has always been a strong indicator of the overall health of the economy,” said Neil W. Book, Jet Support Services president and CEO. Beyond the fourth quarter, the report shows a 6.1% increase in flight hours year-over-year. All sampled regions individually showed increases — highlighted by Europe at 11.6% and Central America at 11% — except for the Middle East, which saw a 6.2% decrease.
The fourth quarter dropped 0.4% compared to the third, but relative to a typical quarter-over-quarter drop of 4.5% that time of year, Book highlighted that as promising for the economy.
Within sectors, the results were mixed. Consumer goods did well in the fourth quarter (+6.2% quarter-over-quarter), despite a weak year-over-year showing (-%10), while manufacturing flight hours were down 10.1% in both time frames. On the other hand, construction was up 5.2% for the fourth quarter, and business services (+12.2%), aviation (+12.3%) and healthcare (+13.5%) all had notably strong year-over-year performances.