Flat market, but underlying business jet AOC markets up

8 Mar 2017

Business Aviation Monitor – February 2017

Allowing for the shorter month, February showed solid YOY growth for business aviation activity in Europe. The resurgence is coming in business jet activity, and clearly from AOC operations rather than Private flights, as we’re seeing owners fly consistently less over the last year. Activity growth appears to be coming from new ultra-long range and super midsize aircraft coming into owned and operated fleets, also from the success of online brokerage platforms and membership schemes focused on getting higher utilisation from light jet inventory.


There were 53,526 business aviation departures in Europe in February 2017, 0.9% growth compared to Feb-16 (which was 1 day longer). The YTD trend is now +2.6%; so far, 2,602 more flights in 2017 than in 2016.

Business jets operated 62% of business aviation flights in February, increasing activity by 4% YOY. The overall trend was held back by Turboprop and Piston activity, down 4% YOY. The rolling 12-month trend in business jet activity is just above 2%.

February’s activity was bolstered by stronger activity in Germany, flights up by 5% YOY. AOC activity from Germany is generating the growth, up 10% YOY. Mainly the recovery is coming in business jet rather than in turboprop activity.

France continued to grow, less than in January, but still up by 473 flights a month so far this year. Much of the growth came from Le Bourget, departures up 4%, of which AOC missions gained 11% YOY. UK was also up, with daily departures to Europe +2.8%.

Flights from Western Europe were up 1%, +2% from Southern Europe, but down 6% from Eastern Europe. Departures from Middle East and North America into Europe were down, but arrivals from Russia climbed 10% YOY.

Private flights comprised 47% of all activity in February, volumes down 3%, in contrast to AOC sectors, up 6% YOY. Jet and Prop Private flights declined 1% and 5% respectively. Business jet AOC sectors increased by 8.5% YOY.

AOC activity was up in all 7 top markets, including Italy. AOC departures from Spain increased 10% YOY, from Russia, +14%, and from the Netherlands, 28%. Apart from Germany, Private missions declined across the same top 7 markets.

In terms of operated hours, all business jet segments except heavy jets were up this month. ELJ & VLJ hours increased >10%. ULR flights were up 10%, reflected for example in a big pick-up for Falcon 7X and Global Express aircraft.

Business aviation activity declined at 3 of the busiest 4 airports – Luton, Geneva and Zurich. But apart from Zurich, AOC activity was up in the top 7. Largest growth in AOC activity came from Nice and Vnukovo, respectively growing 21% and 30% YOY.

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