Bizjet bounce is fading but some leisure spots still seeing high demand
15/12/2022 – WINGX’s weekly Business Aviation Bulletin.
Business jet activity is steadily slipping off post-Covid highs, although it’s likely 2022 will still conclude with a low double-digit gain on 2019. That said, there is now a marked decline in charter activity, suggesting first-time customers may be exiting the market. Europe is still seeing the brunt of the slowdown compared to last year.
Business jet and turboprop operated sectors are trending 2% below comparable 2021 for the first 12 days of December, still 5% above December three years ago. For the year to date, since January, business aviation flights are up 11% compared to last year, 14% ahead of 2019. Scheduled airline flights have started this month 11% above last year, lagging 21% behind three years ago. Focussing on the busiest global airlines (American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Ryanair), flight sectors are up 12% compared to last year, less than 1% below three years ago. Dedicated freighters have started the month slowly, activity 12% below last year, 3% behind three years ago.
Chart 1: Global fixed wing flights, December 1st-12th 2022, compared to previous years.
Business jet activity in North America this month is behind December last year, 3% off December 2021, 5% up on three years ago. In terms of flight hours, activity is down 3% compared to last year, up 7% compared to 2019. Florida is the busiest state so far this December, activity in terms of flights 9% below last year, 17% higher than in December three years ago. Texas is seeing activity on par with last year, whereas California has seen a large drop-in activity compared to December 2021. New Jersey and Nevada are the only states in the top 10 with activity outpacing December last year.
Chart 2: Bizjet departures and hours by North America state, December 2022 vs previous years.
Activity across different business aviation operator types is varied this month. Branded Charter operator activity has dropped precipitously, by 23%, compared to December last year, and even 5% below three years ago. Aircraft Management fleets are flying 5% fewer sectors than last year, although 8% more than three years ago. Private Flight departments are busier than last year, sectors up 10% compared to the start of December 2022, also 16% above three years ago. Corporate Flight Departments are, in contrast, seeing a modest slide in activity, 1% down on December last year, and down 11% compared to December 2019. December 2022 drops in Corporate Flight Department activity stands in contrast to solid gains in corporate flying in the first three quarters of this year.
Business jet demand in Europe continues to decline compared to last year, this month. Twelve days into December, bizjets are flying 8% fewer sectors compared to December last year, 4% fewer than pre-pandemic December 2019.
Top European markets are now seeing fewer flights than the same period 2019, notably the UK, Germany and France. Conversely, bizjet activity in Italy and Switzerland is up 11% and 5% compared to December 2021. Turkey has the largest increase in bizjet activity this month compared to December three years ago. In week 49, activity increased 1% compared to week 48, 5% below the same week in 2021. In the last four weeks activity has dropped 13% compared to comparable 2021.
Chart 3: Bizjet departures by country from Europe, December 2022 compared to previous years.
Chart 4: Bizjet arrivals into European ski resort airports, December 2022 compared to previous years.
The return of the ski season is apparent with increased bizjet activity into airports near the leading European ski resorts. Sion has seen a notable increase in arrivals, 12% up on last year and almost 40% up on December 2019. Chambery and Samedan are also seeing very fast starts to the season. Other airports have experienced double digit declines compared to December 2019, notably Innsbruck, Bern and Annecy.
Rest of World
Bizjet activity outside of North America and Europe has started December strong, flights are up 16% on 2021, 50% above levels three years ago. In the last four weeks activity in Africa is up 18% compared to 2021, Asia up 28%, South America down 3%. In the Middle East activity is up 20% compared to last year. Business jet demand in Qatar continues to be driven by the FIFA Men’s World Cup. Key World Cup airports OTHH, OTBD, OTBK have seen 291% growth in average daily arrivals during the opening 22 days of the tournament.
Chart 5: Arrivals into FIFA World Cup Airports
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