Charter demand driving activity growth in Europe

6 Mar 2018

Activity has softened in some countries, with the political climate probably showing through in UK and Italy. The main leisure markets still look strong, with Charter flights to and from Spain well up, and airport pairs connecting London, Paris and the South of France showing very strong growth. Short commercial sectors are seeing most growth, especially on Light Jets. Owner activity remains very subdued.

Continued solid growth in business aviation in Europe, with 57,037 flights marking a 4.5% increase in YOY activity. Business jet departures were up by 3%, with a decline in Private flight missions offset by 5% gains in Charter activity.

Western and Central Europe saw robust growth in flight activity, although flat in the UK and modest in Italy. Germany had the strongest growth, mainly growth in Prop activity. Spain had the largest growth in business jet activity, now has L12M trends of +9%.

Large jet activity was mixed this month, with 6% increase in flights from top market France, up 4% in Switzerland, but down 6% in Germany and -11% in Italy. Small jet flights were modestly up in the top 3 markets, and up by 17% YOY from Spain.

AOC activity was the growth driver once again, with France and Germany seeing over 10% growth in these missions, with exceptional YOY growth in Belgium and Finland. The UK charter market was down slightly. AOC market declined 12% in Czech Republic.

Private activity was slightly up overall this month, but wavered in France, Switzerland and Russia. Owner flights were well up in UK, with over 4,000 flights out of the London airports in February, this volume up by 2.5% YOY.

90% of flights from Europe stayed within the region, this volume up by 5% YOY. Flights inbound to Europe from other global regions were down, with arrivals from the Middle East down by 15%, and Transatlantic arrivals down by 5% YOY.

Within Europe, there were almost 300 flights on the busiest connection between Le Bourget and Geneva, but whilst this volume was flat YOY, AOC traffic between airports including Farnborough, Nice, Le Bourget, Vnukovo and Zurich was up by around 20% YOY.

Light Jets, mostly for Charter sectors, and Super Midsize, mostly Fractional, saw the largest pick-up in demand, mainly on short sectors. Owner flights on Midsize, Entry Level and VLJ flights was well down. SLJ Charter flights also declined.

The busiest 10 airports all saw some increase in YOY activity this month, modest at Le Bourget, Vnukovo and Zurich, substantial at Farnborough, Geneva, Nice and Biggin Hill. AOC departures from Farnborough were up more than 30% YOY.

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