Busiest ever summer in Europe, whilst US demand hits ceiling

14 Jul 2022

14/07/2022 – WINGX’s weekly Business Aviation Bulletin.  

The business jet rebound appears to have hit the ceiling in the key North American market, with this summer likely to be on par with summer 2021. The demand has clearly ebbed in the small and midsize market although still growing for the larger jets. The European market is characterized by typical seasonal holiday demand, at 20% higher levels than pre-pandemic July.

In the first 10 days of July 2022 there were 144,000 business jet and turboprop flights operated worldwide, down 1% from last year, up 12% compared to July 2019. For business jets only, activity in week 27, ending 10th July, was up 5% on the same week last year, but down 7% on week 26 this year. By comparison, scheduled airline activity is up 17% this July versus last July, but still 21% behind three years ago. Global cargo operations have slowed, opening July 11% behind the same 10 days last year, 5% behind the level of operations three years ago.

Chart 1: Scheduled Airline, Cargo and Business Aviation activity 1st July through 10th July 2022

North America
The slowing growth in business jet and turboprop activity continues to be evident in July 2022 in North America. Bizjet and prop flights were 6% below the same 10 days last year, although still 6% above pre-pandemic July. Focussing on bizjets only, sectors were down 5% compared to the start of last July, still 15% above three years ago. On a week-to-week basis; in week 27, ending July 7th, North American bizjet sectors were down 10% on the previous week, up just 1% versus week 27 last year. In the US, the red-hot charter and fractional fleet operations ebbed down by 27% compared to the same week in 2021.

Tapering growth in the US appears mainly in the light and midsize market, with Midsize jets flying 10% less than last year so far this month, Super Mid and Heavy Jet sectors down by 4%. The Very Light Jet sector is still picking up business this year versus last, and these aircraft are flying 41% more than in July 2019. And the rebound is remarkable for the Ultra Long Range fleet, with 10,557 sectors flown so far this month in the US, an increase of 22% compared to last year, up 45% on pre-pandemic July 2019.

Chart 2 – US top aircraft segments by hours, 1st – 10th July 2022

25,000 bizjet sectors were flown in the opening 10 days of July, 14% more than the first 10 days of July 2021, and 23% more than July 2019. France is the busiest market at the start of this month, 4,000 bizjet flights in the opening 10 days, 12% more than last year, 16% more than three years ago. Portugal and the United Kingdom are seeing 70% or more activity than the start of July last year. Contrast the Baltic states which are all trailing last year and three years ago. Fewer than 300 bizjet flights departed from Russia in the opening 10 days of July this year, 72% fewer than last year and 64% fewer than 3 years ago. Some of the most resilient markets last year are also falling behind this July, notably Croatia and Greece.

Chart 3 – Business jet activity in European countries July 2022 vs previous years

Click to expand

Charles Leclerc took the victory at the action-packed Red Bull Ring Grand Prix in Austria over the weekend, the event attracting 125 business jets at airports nearby (LOXZ, LOWG, LOWK, LOWL), 19% more than the race three years ago. Bizjet arrivals into nearby airports during the event was up 12% compared to the 2019 edition of the race. The busiest airport pair during the event days (8th – 10th July) was Nice / LFMN – LOXZ – Hinterstoisser Air Base with 4 flights.

Chart 4 – Business jet activity, Austrian F1 Grand Prix 2022

Rest of World
Outside Europe and North America, the bizjet activity rebound in the first 10 days of July looks similar to that of Europe, sectors up 10% versus last year. Airports like Ben Gurion and Al Maktoum are continuing to see record levels of business jet flight activity. Others like Seletar are seeing a big rebound from belated pandemic recovery, with bizjet departures gaining over 200% on July last year. Business jet activity in China continues to stall in July, down by 30% compared to July last year. Bizjet activity in Brazil appears to be slowing, July down 14% on last year, Sao Paolo Congonhas airport seeing 36% fewer departures than last year, although 40% up on July 2019.

Chart 5 – Top Rest of World airports, business jets, 1st – 10th July 2022

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