The top 25 largest private aircraft operators in the USA are ranked and discussed below, with the chart showing their 2023 total flight hours and also the 2022 hours for comparison. The list includes a mixture of fractional operators, charter operators and aircraft managers.

Operator Rankings

The table below shows the largest private aircraft companies ranked by number of flight hours in 2023. The data is courtesy of ARGUS.

Operator 2023 Hours 2022 Hours
  1. NetJets 524,786 511,224
  2. Flexjet 204,819 183,548
  3. Wheels Up 127,685 159,357
  4. Vista 103,810 102,293
  5. Executive Jet Management 76,940 75,407
  6. flyExclusive 55,211 56,602
  7. Solairus Aviation 49,560 49,983
  8. PlaneSense 47,623 44,593
  9. Jet Linx 32,648 35,676
  10. Airshare 22,114 24,040
  11. Nicholas Air 21,203 21,594
  12. Jet Aviation 16,178 17,677
  13. VeriJet 14,223 2,575
  14. Clay Lacy Aviation 13,933 15,973
  15. Aero Air 13,044 15,144
  16. Red Wing Aviation 12,635 11,664
  17. Volato 12,487 5,268
  18. NXT Jet 12,295 11,613
  19. Thrive Aviation 11,580 10,908
  20. Superior Transportation 11,128 14,684
  21. Great Western Air 10,972 10,926
  22. ATI Jet 10,024 9,155
  23. Silverhawk Aviation 9,885 10,503
  24. Worldwide Jet Charter 9,721 10,119
  25. Berry Aviation 9,615 13,501

The order is quite similar to prior years with NetJets and Flexjet, the two largest fractional jet operators, at the top of the list, and both of them saw an increase in flight hours in 2023. Other operators saw a mix of results, wih some decreases, some increases and some staying about the same. Looking at overall private flight hours in 2023, there was a drop off compared to the record levels in 2022 and 2021, but the numbers are still significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels as shown in this earlier article. 

NetJets

NetJets is by far the largest private aviation operator with over 900 aircraft worldwide, including managed aircraft (through Executive Jet Management, #5 on the list above) in addition to its fractional fleet. It has been growing this fleet over the last couple of years and added more new aircraft last year. During 2023 it also announced two large orders for additional new aircraft. The first order, in May, was for up to 250 Praetor mid-size aircraft and then in September NetJets announced it had options to purchase up to 1,500 additional Cessna Citation business jets over the next 15 years.

The company paused jet card sales in mid-2021 citing “today’s unprecedented flight demand” and noting that this “allows us to continue prioritizing what is most important - delivering the best possible experience to all Owners.” The card program opened up again in 2023 but with 45 black out days per year. 

Flexjet

In 2023, the total Flexjet fleet grew to about 300 aircraft with mid-size and super-mid additions to the fleet. It also opened a brand new HQ and Global Operations Center with a massive 176 foot by 19 foot LED screen showing every Flexjet flight around the world. Towards the end of 2023 Flexjet expanded its maintenance and support capacity by buying  Flying Colours, a large aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) company.  Flexjet had planned to become a public company but called this off in early 2023, is has has been the second largest fractional aviation company for a number of years.

Wheels Up

Wheels Up is the largest Part 135 charter operator but it underwent some significant changes in 2023. Founder and CEO Kenny Dichter stepped down in May and the company reorganized its service areas and membership plans. In August, Delta Air Lines led a $500m investment round and these investors now own 95% of the company. In September George N. Mattson, an experienced aviation executive, came in as CEO and there have been multiple new additions to the management team. The company has also opened a new operations center in Atlanta, close to the Delta HQ. It also sold its aircraft management business to Airshare, to allow it to focus on memberships and charter.

Vista

Vista is another large charter operator which has grown rapidly by acquisition. In prior years, the numbers for the acquired companies were shown separately - these include XO, Jet Edge, Jet Select and Vista itself - but for 2023 are shown in agregate. Vista operates as two brands in the US, the high level VistaJet and also XO, with a global fleet of over 300 aircraft. In addition to whole aircraft charters, XO offers individual seats on shared flights between New York and South FLorida.

Executive Jet Management (EJM)

EJM is a NetJets sister company that manages whole aircraft on behalf of their owners. Some of these aircraft are available for charter and are also used by NetJets for supplemental lift.

flyExclusive

flyExclusive is the operating name for Exclusive Jets, a fast growing charter operator that became a public company (symbol "FLYX") at the end of 2023. The company started a new fractional program in 2023 with the addition of Citation CJ3+ jets, and the overall fleet is now over 100 aircraft.

Solairus Aviation

Solairus is one of the largest aircraft management companies with over 70 base locations across the US and a fleet of over 320 aircraft. Most of these planes are long range, large cabin and super mid-size aircraft. In 2023 Solairus reopened its Altitude fixed hourly rate, jet card type product which was closed during the pandemic.

PlaneSense

PlaneSense operates the largest civilian fleet of Pilatus PC-12 turbo-prop aircraft in the world, and added the Pilatus PC-24 light jet to its programs back in 2018. The total fleet is now nearly 60 aircraft. In 2023, the fractional provider expanded the primary service area for the PC-24's to cover the west coast. It also took delivery of the 2,000th PC-12 at a special ceremony at the Pilatus factory in Switzerland.

Jet Linx

Omaha, NB based Jet Linx is a large aircraft management company with a fleet of about 110 aircraft across over 20 bases around the country. They brought in a new CEO in 2023, Brent Wouters, who was previously President & CEO of Cirrus Aircraft.

Airshare

Airshare is the operating name for Executive Flight Services. It offers both fractional shares and their Embark jet card, which both provide day based (rather than hours based) access to their fleet of Phenom 300 light jets and Challenger 350 super midsize aircraft. The company significantly added to its aircraft management side when it acquired the aircraft management busines of Wheels Up in mid 2023, this brought the total fleet to about 150 aircraft.

While 2023 flight hours dropped about 3% compared to 2022, Travis Kuhn at ARGUS says that overall, he expects the North American market to decline between 1% to 2% in 2024. Somewhat of a normalization after covid induced peaks.