Private jet market share in USA and Europe

There many emerging markets for business aviation, but with North America and Europe still representing over 90% of all flight activity, a side-by-side comparison gives us an fascinating insight into the two private jet heavyweights. See Infographic for full stats

Business aviation in the USA is a more mature and developed market for private jet travel. What's interesting to consider is that both regions have similar size economies, but private jet flight activity in the USA is 3.5 times bigger than Europe

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There are many reasons for this. Of course, the USA differs to Europe in terms of geography and airline connectivity as well as its culture and attitudes to business aviation.

But this comparison study may nevertheless give some indication as to the growth potential and the future picture for Europe's business aviation industry. Back in 2006 and 2007, the business aviation market in Europe was growing 10% each year. As the market shows signs of recovering from recession, Europe's private jet industry has strong opportunity ahead.


USA customers are flying again more readily, post-recession. The USA market returned to growth at the end of 2013, whereas Europe was still slightly down (although Q1 in 2014 has tipped to 3% growth).


Together, the USA and Europe hold 77% of the global fleet. With 4.5 times the number of private jets registered in USA, this shows us that each aircraft is performing similar flight numbers, on average. Europe's fleet in fact are slightly higher utilised at 261 flights per aircraft per year, compared to USA at 207.

But if we look at how new aircraft are feeding into each fleet we can see that a similar quadruple ratio applies. In 2013, the USA took 4 times as many new deliveries of business jets and turboprop aircraft as Europe.

private jet peak seasons in Europe and USA in 2013


There is a marked difference in seasonality when we compare monthly flight activity. Europe shows a strong summer peak each year, with 11% of its annual flights taking place in July. The USA is a much more sustained market year-round. This may suggest that Europe's private jet fleet operate a higher proportion of leisure (as opposed to business) flights than the USA.


The busiest private jet airport in the world is New York Teterboro. In Europe, its equivalent is Paris Le Bourget. Both are dedicated business aviation airports. With Van Nuys in Los Angeles in second place, we can see that activity in the USA market is more widespread, coast to coast. Europe's top airports are clustered more closely together, with Paris followed by Geneva and Nice Cote D'Azur.

In both regions, connectivity is king, with over ten times as many private jet airports compared to scheduled airlines. The USA market has over 4,000 private jet airports compared to 2,145 in Europe.


The most popular routes in each region are both 50 minute flights but pricing is different. LA to Las Vegas costs 25% less on the same aircraft type as the top European city pair, Milan to Rome. The favourite aircraft for both regions is also the world's bestselling private jet - the Citation XLS. But in the USA, you typically pay about €500 less per hour to fly in one.

The price of jet fuel differs by region in the USA, but on average it's more costly than Europe at $5.20 per US gallon (versus $3.50 in Europe). Jet fuel is also taxed in the USA market for commercial flights, at the rate of 4 cents per US gallon, but there is currently no jet fuel tax for private jets in Europe.

Overall in the USA, relative private jet charter price savings come from a larger market and infrastructure; less bureaucracy; and lower crew and airport fees.


This infographic clearly shows the differences between business aviation in Europe and USA. But one common aspect of both markets is fragmentation. With thousands of aircraft operated by thousands of companies, both markets are heavily brokered. For the charter customer, the ease and speed of comparing private jet pricing is being transformed through technology. PrivateFly is integrated with over 7,000 aircraft worldwide and is bringing both Europe and the USA (and other regions) together in one online, global marketplace.

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