Business jet activity slowing, charter market weakening

9 Apr 2019

According to WINGX`s latest Business Aviation Monitor

66,736 business aviation departures in Europe in Mar-19, strong increase on Feb-19, but just 0.7% growth in YOY flights, with large increase in Piston traffic offsetting declines in business jet and turboprop. Q1-2019 total activity is up by 0.6% vs Q1-2018.

This month saw some small growth in top market France, slightly declining activity in Switzerland and UK, big drop in activity in Germany, large gains in Spain. Decline in Germany came in Small-Mid jets, and all the gains in Spain came from prop aircraft.

Besides Germany, biggest declines this month came in Sweden and Netherlands. Turkey activity was up 3% this month but lags 12% YTD. Q1-19 growth is strongest in Spain, total business aviation activity up 9% vs Q1 2018.

Large Jet activity was up 2% this month, with strong gains in Italy, departures up by 12% YOY. Midsize and Small Jet flights fell 2% YOY, with 8% decline in Germany, 13% decline in Russia. Business aviation activity out of London fell 6% this month.

YOY trends in flights within Europe were slightly up this month, but down on L12M trends. European departures to North America and Africa were up, but flights to Asia-Pacific region fell by 12%. Arrivals into Europe from CIS up by 3%, but well down for Q1 as a whole.

Charter/AOC activity dropped 1% this month, reinforcing a much weaker trend so far this year compared to last year. Conversely, Private flight activity increased 3%, extending a stronger trend compared to the last two years.

Textron aircraft flew 4% less this month, Gulfstream jet activity was flat, whereas Bombardier, Dassault and Embraer jet flights were up YOY. Strong growth in Bombardier Charter/AOC movements, and for Dassault, in Private flights.

For business jets, Global Express and Hawker Nextant types showed strong growth this month, especially in the Charter/AOC market. Citation Mustang and CJI1 activity continued to decline heavily. Big increase in Private activity on Falcon 900 and 2000.

London airports saw a big drop in activity this month, with 13% fall in departures from Luton, 6% decline from Farnborough, although 9% gain out of Biggin Hill. Top Swiss airports were well down this month, so was Nice, but Le Bourget and Vnukovo were up YOY.

Richard Koe, Managing Director of WINGX, comments:

“Total business aviation activity continues to eke out some growth this year, but business jet activity is clearly slowing, evidently in the Charter market. This is coming from a big drop off in peripheral markets such as Russia and Turkey, and slowdown in key city hubs, notably London, which is a direct consequence of business uncertainty and falling consumer confidence as Brexit drags on. The large cabin jet market continues to see some overall strength, notably in super midsize and ultra-long range jet activity.”