General aviation rebound faces ‘hang-ups’

General aviation rebound faces ‘hang-ups’

2022-07-11T07:58:46-04:00June 29th, 2022|Aviation, Palm Beach, Transportation|

Writer: Ryan Gandolfo

2 min read June 2022— Demand for private aviation has soared to new heights in recent years, outpacing the development of the infrastructure needed to hold planes.

The global general aviation market, referring to flights that are more flexible than what airlines can offer, is expected to continue to grow from $26 billion in 2021 to $36 billion by 2028, according to The Insight Partners.

Palm Beach County has been a hive of activity for general aviation, with jetsetters coming in and out of the sunshine state. “Starting last June, June of 2021, private aviation started to hit record levels,” said Doug Gollan, the founder and editor in chief of Private Jet Comparisons, as cited by WPTV. 

According to Palm Beach International Airport’s Director of Marketing and Communications Lacy Larson, private planes made up 71% of the airport’s traffic in January 2022, a significant increase from normal levels around 40%, The Palm Beach Post reported.

However, one of the issues in Palm Beach County and the rest of the country has been the low supply of hangars. In June, Mark Thuber of Business Traveler Jet noted: “A hangar shortage exists at many of the approximately 5,200 public airports in the U.S. And no, it’s not a new problem brought on by pandemic-related supply-chain glitches. We’ve known about it for a while.”

Companies in Palm Beach County are addressing the rising demand of general aviation by building more hangars to accommodate the newer generation of large aircraft in the market.

Back in 2020, Jet Aviation completed a 42,000 square-foot hangar at Palm Beach International Airport as part of a new FBO complex. “The additional space and hangarage can accommodate both larger aircraft and increasing demand. We continue to grow our facilities to match our customer needs and are pleased to have strong interest in the new hangar,” said David Best, SVP Regional Operations, America.

In May of this year, fixed base operator Atlantic Aviation committed $40 million to upgrade existing airport infrastructure over the next seven years at the Boca Raton Airport. 

“Atlantic Aviation is committed to Boca Raton for the long-haul and we’re proud to be participating in the city’s efforts to stimulate further economic development and attract new business,” said Tim Bannon, chief operating officer of Atlantic, in a press release. The planned infrastructure includes an addition of approximately 52,000 square feet of new hangar space.

“Our continued presence, coupled with these new facilities, will provide best in class service to visitors and everyone who proudly calls Boca Raton ‘home.’”