Bizjet demand waning in Europe, up in Middle East, steady in US
24/11/2022 – WINGX’s weekly Business Aviation Bulletin.
We have seen almost 6 consecutive months of falling bizjet flight activity in 2022 compared to 2021, taking demand well off the peaks of the covid rebound, although the market still has a substantial gain versus pre-covid 2019. Directionally, Europe is seeing weakest trends, with the US steady although charter demand is ebbing, whilst Middle East and Asia still have strong growth compared to 2021.
So far this year (January 1st – November 20th), global business jet and turboprop activity, measured in sectors flown, is 12% ahead of last year, 14% ahead of three years ago. Dedicated freight activity is also ahead of three years ago, flights up 5%, although 3% below last year. Scheduled airline activity continues to lag pre-pandemic, flights 25% fewer compared to three years ago, even if 23% ahead of last year. Focussing on the busiest global airlines (American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Ryanair), activity so far this year is 35% ahead of 2021, 4% below 2019.
Chart 1: Global fixed wing flights, January 1st – November 20th 2022 compared to previous years
So far this year, January through 20th November, business jet flights in North America are 13% ahead of comparable 2021, 18% ahead of three years ago. Activity has slowed Year-on-Year since the summer. Looking at the last four weeks, bizjet flights are trending 2% behind the same period in 2021. In the first 20 days of November, activity is 2% behind the same 20 days in November 2021, 15% up on three years ago. In week 46 ending November 20th, activity rose by 11% compared to the previous week, but was 2% down on week 46 2021.
Chart 2: North American business jet operator type activity Nov MTD 2022 compared to previous years
Almost a third of bizjet flights this month have been operated by private flight departments, activity up 9% vs November last year, 24% ahead of three years ago. Corporate flight departments are on par with last year, 1% ahead of November three years ago. Despite big gains compared to 2019, branded charter fleets have seen activity decline by 21% compared to last year. Light jets are the most popular aircraft types amongst private flight departments, followed by heavy jets.
In November so far, business jet flights in Europe are down by 16% compared to comparable November 2021. But as a measure of how far up the market rebounded post-Covid, year-to-date flight activity is still up 17% compared to 2019. The trends vary by country and airport: leading business aviation airport Le Bourget seeing 6% more departures this month than Nov-19, but 15% fewer flights than November last year; Biggin Hill activity down 20% versus last year, up 31% versus Nov-19; Ataturk up 17% compared to Nov-21, and up 70% compared to Nov-19.
Chart 3: Top business jet airports, Europe, November 2022 compared to previous years
Rest of World
So far this year bizjet activity outside of North America and Europe is 21% ahead of last year, 54% ahead of three years ago. In the first 20 days of November activity is 24% ahead of last year, 62% ahead of three years ago. Business aviation in the Middle East is coming into focus next month with MEBAA, and the region continues to see upward momentum in bizjet flight demand, activity up 16% in week 46 compared to same week last year. So far in November activity is 10% above the flights in the same 20 days of November 2021, 62% above three years ago. Heavy jets are the most active this month in the Middle East region, followed by ultra-long-range jets. Bizliner growth is on par with last year, 31% ahead of November 2019.
Chart 4: Middle East Bizjet Operator Types, January 1st – 20th November 2022 compared to previous years
Major sporting events appear to be helping drive demand in the Middle East region. Bizjet arrivals into Qatar rose dramatically last weekend (18 – 20th November) for the opening of the FIFA Men’s World Cup. At nearby airports (OTHH, OTBD, OTBK) in the last four weeks pre-tournament there was an average of 6 daily bizjet arrivals, during the opening weekend daily arrivals increased to 28 daily arrivals, a 345% increase.
Chart 5: Arrivals into FIFA Men’s World Cup airports, last four weeks
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