South Florida's Thriving Private Jet Industry Fuels Local Economy

Sept. 14, 2023
Kyle Patel, CEO of South Florida-based private charter company BitLux, explores the mutually beneficial relationship between private jet operations and airports.
Kyle Patel, CEO, BitLux
Kyle Patel, CEO, BitLux

The South Florida area is a hotspot for private jet activity and routinely attracts visitors traveling to the region’s business and vacation-related attractions. Infrastructure designed to accommodate private jet travel has evolved to meet increased volumes of demand with a network of executive and commercial airports available from West Palm Beach to Miami. South Florida is home to numerous beaches, marinas, golf courses, equestrian events, and other popular activities designed to complement the region’s attractive climate.

The area also serves as an excellent launching point for continued trips to other destinations including the Caribbean. Private jet travelers flying with BitLux and planning trips to South Florida can expect to be met with an experience that offers ease of access to regional attractions and other amenities designed to support private jet logistics.

A Florida Aviation Economic Impact Study from 2022 (AEIS) revealed general aviation as a sizable economic engine with visitor spending contributing to a total of 106,280 jobs, $4.1 billion in payroll, $7.1 billion in value-added, and $13.6 billion in economic impact. General aviation in Florida served 4.6 million visitors in 2022. According to Argus TraqPak data from 2022, the state of Florida topped the nation’s number of private jet departures with 389,482 tracked departures last year.

South Florida was responsible for 156,042 of the recorded departures with the majority of the volume occurring at Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL), Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), Boca Raton Airport (BCT), Pompano Beach Airpark (PMP), North Perry Airport (HWO), Miami International Airport (MIA), Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport (OPF), and Miami Executive Airport (TMB). The aforementioned notable airports in the region routinely support private jet activity and offer passengers flexibility, convenience, and the capability to accommodate various aircraft sizes.

Diverse Airports Prove Key for Thriving Private Aviation Industry

The Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) is considered to be a primary medium hub offering both commercial service and private jet accommodations. The airport is under four miles from West Palm Beach and is also close to the Palm Beach County Convention Center making it a desirable airport for both business and vacation travelers. A considerable volume of air traffic at PBI is from general aviation and there are numerous fixed base operators (FBOs) available to cater to private jet activity. The Florida AEIS study from 2022 noted that the airport’s overall economic impact contributed to 31,596 jobs, $1.5 billion in payroll, $2.5 billion of value-added, and $4.6 billion in economic output.

Moving down along the South Florida coast, private jet travelers also have access to the Boca Raton Airport (BCT) which is a general aviation reliever airport. The airport helps to ease the strain of commercial traffic in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The runway lengths at BCT are able to handle various private jet sizes and the airport frequently hosts business travelers visiting corporate headquarter locations. For private jet travelers utilizing the South Florida region as a connection point to international destinations, the Boca Raton Airport provides a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility.

The Pompano Beach Airpark (PMP) is eight miles from the city of Fort Lauderdale and is a city-owned general aviation airport. Private aviation tenants including manufacturers, FBOs, aircraft maintenance operations, and other service providers allow for the airport to support private jet activity and ease of access to surrounding attractions. Just south of PMP is Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL) which is designated as a primary large hub airport serving commercial and private aviation activity. KFLL is a popular entry point to Southeast Florida’s beaches and other leisure destinations.

An alternative option for private jet travelers headed to Fort Lauderdale is the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE). The airport primarily serves corporate and business aviation travelers and is six miles away from downtown Fort Lauderdale. FXE has an onsite U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility and is in a designated Foreign Trade Zone allowing for the addition of economic development in the surrounding county.

An additional airport in the Fort Lauderdale area available to private jet travelers is the North Perry Airport (HWO) in nearby Hollywood. The airport is 10 miles from downtown Fort Lauderdale and is operated by Broward County. HWO serves the largest amount of general aviation traffic in Florida and is one of the busiest airports for the general aviation sector in the country. The airport provides facilities to accommodate private jets, aerial media operations, and flight training activities.

Miami, the Global Private Jet Hub

The Miami area is well-frequented by private jet travelers flying to South Florida and provides passengers with access to the Miami International Airport (MIA), Miami Executive Airport (TMB), and Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport (OPF). KMIA is a primary large hub for commercial traffic and also serves private jets with long runways capable of handling large aircraft. The airport contributes a substantial economic impact by supporting 221,966 jobs, $11.2 billion in payroll, $19.8 billion in value-added, and $35.3 billion in economic impact.

The Miami Executive Airport (TMB) is considered one of the busiest general aviation airports in Florida as a result of the airport’s proximity to downtown Miami, the Florida Turnpike, and its establishment as a reliever airport for KMIA traffic. A third option for Miami private jet travelers is the Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport (OPF) which is also a designated reliever airport for KMIA that features an onsite United States Customs and Border Protection facility.                                          

South Florida serves as a desirable private aviation hub with access to a network of executive airports, proximity to international destinations, and amenities designed to support private jet clientele. Private aviation activity is a major contributor to positive economic impact in Florida and thus provides for a mutually beneficial relationship between airports and local economies. This allows for continuous enhancement of South Florida’s private jet infrastructure as corporate and vacation travelers support the attraction and retention of local businesses.

Private aviation activity is a critical contributor to South Florida’s economy and helps the area to hold its crown as a top destination for visitors and BitLux can provide expert guidance to ensure a safe, affordable, and reliable private jet experience to the sunshine state.

Kyle Patel is the CEO of Florida-based charter operator BitLux. BitLux delivers various services across the air charter industry, but Executive Travel is closest to heart. Whether you are flying for business or leisure, BitLux provides a top-tier private jet service that actively exceeds expectations.