Private jet-setters, start your engines. That’s the flight plan at some airports, where private jets that had been mothballed partly because of the recession are rolling out of hangars and queuing up on the tarmac.
Although private jets are joining their commercial cousins in the air again, private traffic still lags behind its high points, according to USA Today
. "We are not back to late '07, early '08 levels, but we're really off the bottom of where we were," says Lou Seno, president and CEO of JSSI, a company that sets up maintenance for hundreds of corporate aircraft.
"In the fall of 2008, following the decline of the financial markets . . . flying literally fell off the charts, and because of the economy and everything else, it has been slow to recover,” Seno told USA Today. “But the recovery we're seeing has been encouraging."
Seno’s company noticed an 11.4 percent increase in flight hours during the first three months of this year compared with the same period last year. In April, flying time among JSSI roughly 1,300 customers increased 7 percent compared with April 2010.
Those stats are similar to those at other companies, analysts told USA Today
Private flying has been increasing since March 2009, when business jets’ departures and landings had plummeted 35 percent from their peak in April 2008, industry analyst Brian Foley said. It's now down about 10 percent from that high point, he said.
Some private jet businesses, such as charter operators and fuel providers, are doing better, but aircraft manufacturers still are grounded, Foley told USA Today.
And Dan Hubbard, spokesman for the National Business Aviation Association, told USA Today: "I think business aviation is looking like the broader economy. You're seeing some indications that [give] you reason for cautious optimism, but [there's] a lot of mixed signals."
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