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Forecasts and Patterns: 2023 – A Remarkable Year for The Private Shared Fractional Jet Sector

In 2022, Shared fractional aircraft flights accomplished a milestone with a significant increase in the number of hours flown. This growth outpaced both charter flights and privately owned flights, based on data from ARGUS TRAQPak.

As per Nick Copley, the President of SherpaReport, “The upcoming 12 months are set to be a bustling period for the fractional market. This forecast is influenced by multiple factors and linked to the noteworthy trends observed in 2022.

#1 –Enhanced variety of aircraft in fractional fleets

As Mr. Copley elaborates, “With escalating interest from private and corporate proprietors in the fractional sector, the demands of fractional owners are becoming more diverse as the array of opportunities expands. Various fractional companies such as NetJets, Flexjet, PlaneSense, Airshare, AirSprint, Volato, Jet It, Nicholas Air, and flyExclusive have made orders with OEMs for new aircraft, with deliveries scheduled for 2023 and beyond.

“Flexjet, for instance, has introduced Gulfstream G650s and plans to incorporate G700s, along with super mid-sized jets like Challenger 3500s. On the other hand, NetJets is enhancing its fleet with ultra-long-range jets, placing orders for Bombardier Global 7500s and 8000s. Furthermore, NetJets has ordered an additional 100 Phenom 300s during the COVID period.”

Apart from these, other companies like Volato, Jet It, PlaneSense, flyExclusive, and AirSprint are also adding light jets to their fleets.

According to Mr. Copley, “The fractional companies are not just replacing their fleet; they are expanding it. NetJets aims to have 1,000 aircraft in its fleet by the end of 2023, an increase from 750 pre-pandemic. Flexjet plans to boost its fleet from 160 aircraft before the pandemic to over 250 by the end of 2022, with an expectation of receiving about 40 additional aircraft in 2023.”

#2. Diminishing waitlists for aspiring fractional owners

Historically, the wait times for acquiring a new fractional share have ranged from several months to years. However, with the introduction of numerous aircraft to fractional fleets in the U.S, there will be a greater opportunity in 2023 to accommodate more potential fractional owners with their desired aircraft.

Mr. Copley notes, “Smaller fractional providers offering smaller aircraft typically have shorter wait times. For example, acquiring a fractional share in an entry-level light jet like a Phenom 300 at NetJets came with a wait of over a year, while obtaining a share in a Pilatus PC-24 at PlaneSense was considerably faster. Nevertheless, customers in need of large ultra-long-range jets may face limited options at major fractional companies like NetJets and Flexjet. However, with the influx of new deliveries and a stabilization in demand, the wait times at larger companies are likely to decrease in the upcoming year. This indicates that 2023 is poised to be a more favorable year for fractional buyers.”

#3. Attraction of new flexible payment and management options for fractional ownership

Traditional fractional agreements typically involved four payments: the initial purchase, a monthly management fee, hourly usage charges, and additional variables, such as fuel costs.

Mr. Copley mentions, “Recent entrants in the airline market have introduced alternative structures aimed at enticing customers.”

Several examples include services without monthly management fees (flyExclusive and Volato), incentives like rebates (Volato), unlimited usage options (Volato), utilizing a fractional share for pilot training (Jet It), day-based programs (Jet It and Airshare), and tailor-made aircraft with dedicated crew (Flexjet Red Label.)

#4. Embracing Sustainability – A rising imperative trend

Customers who previously avoided fractional or complete ownership due to environmental concerns may find some reassurance in 2023 and beyond.

“The business aviation industry recognizes the necessity to enhance sustainability, with fractional companies also actively participating,” elucidates Mr. Copley. “To varying extents, fractional companies are incorporating sustainable practices such as using sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), procuring carbon offsets, committing to carbon neutrality, utilizing book-and-claim systems, and reducing ground emissions.”

For instance, NetJets has pledged to purchase 3 million gallons of SAF (Sustainable Airline Fuel), while Flexjet offsets 300% of carbon emissions from every flight. Additionally, AirSprint, Volato, and flyExclusive have established carbon offset initiatives. Since SAF is not widely available at most airports yet, a “book-and-claim” registry allows aircraft to utilize SAF where possible, with another operator paying for it and claiming the credit. Some operators have adopted this approach. Moreover, a few operators are also reducing their environmental impact on the ground, including AirSprint and NetJets. Lastly, some of the newly added aircraft possess an Environmental Product Declaration confirming their sustainable sourcing and production.

“As economic shifts and increasing interest rates may impact the readiness of individuals to purchase a share in an aircraft,” concludes Mr. Copley, “the trend of fractional ownership is expected to continue its growth in 2023 and beyond. The global increase in the number of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI) coupled with ongoing challenges and delays in commercial aviation post-COVID-19, suggest that those who switched to private aviation during the pandemic are likely to remain, with more individuals inclined to join. The fractional model is anticipated to benefit from these trends, as it remains a more budget-friendly option compared to full ownership.”

Image Source: Sherpa Report

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