The negative effect of the Easter holiday on March trends was positive for April, reflected in robust YOY growth in flights this month. The long-term trends are still evident, with Owner activity fairly flat, fractional operations boosted by fleet rejuvenation, and Charter activity continuing to be the leading indicator of the market´s cyclical upturn. This growth in charter is notably stronger out of the top markets, mainly in small jets and on short sectors. We forecast another strong summer in this area.
68,250 business aviation departures in Europe this month, a 5% year on year growth, taking the year to date trend to 2.8% compared to 2017. Turboprops had the strongest growth rate this month, up 7% YOY. Business jet sectors were up by 4% YOY.
Following the slowdown last month, April 2018 saw a bounce back in European activity trends, with robust YOY growth in France, UK, Switzerland and especially in Germany, with business aviation activity up by 11%. YTD, Germany is up 4.8%.
Flight activity declined YOY in Italy, and in Spain, breaking a multi-month run of growth. In Italy the drop-off came in Heavy Jet activity, these flights down more than 10%. In Small Jets, France, Germany and Switzerland saw more than 10% YOY growth.
Strong growth in smaller markets such as Poland, Greece, both trending above 20% YTD, also Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria. Russia and Turkey activity declined. Flights from Europe to the Middle East and North America were well down this month.
Activity trends were strongest in Western and Eastern Europe this month, with double-digit growth for flights within Germany, between Germany and UK, and France-Switzerland, reflected in 40% growth on the Paris-Geneva connection.
Charter activity was up 6% this month, resuming its last 12 month growth trend. Private flights were up by 4%, improving on a flat trend since 2016. Charter growth was close to 10% this month in France, Germany, Switzerland and Benelux.
The Super midsize segment had strongest growth this month, flights up 20% YOY, and activity trending at 7% growth YTD. Much of this growth is coming from AOC activity, reflecting the rejuvenation of fractional fleets.
Ultra-long range jet activity was also well up this month, sectors up 11%, majority of which were Private flights. Light Jet activity was up 8%, 73% of this activity AOC-operated and showing >10% growth. VLJ sectors were down, falling 2% in Charters.
Very strong growth out of Paris this month, mostly flown by Small Jet Charters out of Le Bourget. Out of London, YOY flight activity was flat, masking a 50% drop in flights from Northolt with much of this activity migrating to Farnborough and Biggin Hill.