June 21, 2024  ·  Richard Libby

Commercial aviation – the North American opportunity

When boarding a domestic flight in the United States, it’s easy to see that air travel in the country is thriving – global air travel. Airlines in the US and Canada were the first in the world to return to post-pandemic profitability in 2022 and have done a phenomenal job of matching capacity to demand. Looking ahead, the forecast is bright as carriers in the region are expected to post a net profit of $14.4 billion in 2024 (IATA).

While debates range on whether so-called ‘revenge travel’ is over, for IATA, North America remains “the standout region in terms of financial performance.” Its latest forecast states demand in Revenue per Passenger Kilometer (RPK) was 16% higher in 2023 compared to 2022, with a 6.3% year-on-year rise in March 2024.

Amid such a thriving environment, the region is poised to not only profit from revived travel demand but to also serve as a source of aircraft for other regional airlines.

Supply and demand

The strong return of the transatlantic market in 2023 was coupled with a surge in regional and interstate travel. With the upcoming US elections, North America’s aviation growth and profitability may slow in 2024, yet we don’t expect the difference to be significant. Despite rising interest rates and cost-of-living pressures, consumer spending on air travel remains robust.

Set this against widely reported issues with certain airframes and engines, and there is considerable pressure on North American airlines to protect their flying schedules and meet demand. With aircraft out of service for inspections and delivery delays occurring for new planes, we’re seeing older models flying for longer than first anticipated.

While some aircraft types are unavailable, there are opportunities as operators look to fill gaps and explore new ways to meet passenger demand. For example, outside of North America we’re seeing rising interest in larger turboprops such as the ATR 72 series and the Dash 8-400, as well as regional jets to provide essential cross-country connections and open up new point-to-point opportunities.

Supporting global markets

North America has always been a market of significant value but it’s also a prime source of inventory for regional and domestic carriers worldwide. In 2023, Jetcraft Commercial took a notable step by acquiring 19 Dash 8-400s from Horizon Air and placing them with strategically selected customers outside of the US and Canada.

The demand for the Dash 8 stems from its economics and performance – the aircraft’s high speed, flexibility and higher density perfectly meet the needs of developing domestic and regional travel markets, particularly for carriers operating in landlocked countries with hot temperatures or high altitudes.

Despite global uncertainties affecting air travel, North America’s aviation market remains resilient, offering unique opportunities to drive air travel across developing regions. With our global perspective and agile response to market dynamics, Jetcraft Commercial is a strategic partner for airlines looking to transition out a fleet type or capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Toronto, CA


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