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Air Traffic Data Shows That the Travel Recovery Is Already Underway

By Lee Samaha - Mar 8, 2021 at 1:00PM

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The commercial aviation industry received two bits of good news recently.

There's hard evidence to support the idea that airline traffic is coming back and that passengers are willing to fly given the opportunity.

First, according to flight-tracking data from RadarBox, the average number of business-jet flights last week came in higher than the corresponding week for 2020 and 2019 as well. In fact, the 2021 figure of 8,787 flights is 11.1% higher than in 2019.

That's a key figure because it implies that business travelers are ready to fly. If so, it will be good news for commercial airlines that are looking to attract business travelers back as they reopen routes.

It also implies that the business-jet market is recovering faster than expected. Back in autumn, Honeywell International's (HON 1.79%) Global Business Aviation Outlook called for a business jet recovery to 2019 levels by this summer of 2021. Given that it's started to occur at the beginning of spring, it's fair to say the recovery is well on track.

And second, there was some good news on commercial aviation that will please airlines and aviation suppliers like Honeywell, Raytheon Technologies, General Electric, and Boeing. According to RadarBox, domestic flights in China are also now up when compared to 2019, with the average number of commercial flights 19.5% ahead of the same period in 2019.

Air passengers.

Image source: Getty Images.

While it's too early to draw definitive conclusions over this, and there's no guarantee that global traffic will act the same way as domestic travel in China, it does augur well. Investors in the sector will be feeling a bit more confident in a recovery if this sort of data continues.

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Stocks Mentioned

Honeywell International Inc. Stock Quote
Honeywell International Inc.
HON
$197.43 (1.79%) $3.47
General Electric Company Stock Quote
General Electric Company
GE
$76.34 (2.29%) $1.71
The Boeing Company Stock Quote
The Boeing Company
BA
$127.73 (2.97%) $3.68
Raytheon Technologies Corporation Stock Quote
Raytheon Technologies Corporation
RTX
$94.50 (2.18%) $2.02

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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