09/02/2023 – WINGX’s weekly Business Aviation Bulletin.
The next couple of months could be the first time since 2019 when year-on-year trends start to normalise, with the modest growth so far this year compared to 2022 largely flattered by the Omicron surge at the start of last year. The trends are not encouraging in Europe, where the charter market is now seeing double-digit drops. The US market is still more or less holding its own, with geographical variability.
Worldwide business jet sectors in week 5 of 2023, 31st January through 5th of February, amounted to 60,719 sectors, a 5% drop compared to week 4, and a 1% drop compared to the same dates in 2022. The global trend in the last 4 weeks is flat compared to last year. For commercial business jet traffic, including Part 135 and Part 91K, the week 5 trend was markedly negative, -10% compared to the same dates in 2022, with a last 4-week negative 7% trend. The broader context for the month of January 2023 pointed to business jet and turboprop activity up 14% up on January three years ago. Comparably, airline activity in January was up 24% on January last year, still 12% behind January 2019.
Chart 1: Global fixed wing flights, January 2023 compared to previous years. (Note business aviation includes turboprops)
220,000 business jet sectors flew out of airports in North America during January 2023, on par with January last year, 14% above January 2019. Flight hours in January were down 1% compared to January last year, although 17% above January 2019. Palm Beach International, Dallas Love Field, Las Vegas McCarran and Miami Opa-Locka round out the top 5. With just over 300 flights, Palm Beach Intl – Teterboro was the busiest bizjet airport pair in January. 88% of bizjet sectors in January were domestic flights, 1% fewer sectors compared to January 2022. International bizjet flights were up 10% compared to January last year, 13% above 2019.
47,343 bizjet sectors have been flown in week 5, 5% down on week 4, 1% down on the same dates in 2022. Private flight departments are outpacing last year’s demand by 11%, 10% more than in 2019. Fractional fleets are flying 15% more than February last year 33% more than 2019. Corporate flight departments are flying 1% more than in February 2022, although 10% less than 2019. Branded charter activity continues to see declines, sectors are down 9% at the start of this month compared to the same period last year, just 3% above 2019.
Chart 2: North America branded charter bizjet aircraft segments ranked by departures, February 1st – 6th 2023, compared to previous years.
In the opening 6 days of February bizjet activity in Europe is trailing last year by 12%, although 3% above 2019. Excluding Russia´s activity, the region has started this month 9% below last year, still 5% above 2019.
Almost two thirds of business jet sectors in February have been under 90 minutes in length, flights of this duration are down 9% compared to last year, 2% more than 2019. Long haul and ultra-long flights are bucking the overall trend so far this month, flights between 6-12 hours are up 18% compared to last year, 17% more than 2019. Flights longer than 12 hours are up 14% compared to last year, triple digit growth compared to 2019.
Chart 3: Business jet types ranked by departures, Europe 1st – 6th February 2023 compared to previous years.
Rest of World
The only two global regions with growth in business jet activity in week 5 versus week 4 were South America and Africa. Compared to the same dates in 2022, flights were also up in Middle East and Asia, with the latter seeing a year-on-year rebound of over 40%, mainly due to the opening-up in China. Year to date trends for all regions outside North America and Europe are close to 30% up on where they were three years ago. Countries with largest gains compared to pre-Covid are UAE, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.
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