Growth trends strengthen as winter draws in

11 Dec 2017

Business Aviation Monitor – November 2017

November´s flight activity was typically low-season but the strong year-on-year growth is evidence of the ongoing recovery in demand in 2017. A lot of the additional flying is being operated as large cabin AOC missions, on short European sectors, suggesting some aggressive pricing. Excess capacity is encouraging the buyer´s market; overall activity this month was still down 10% on the levels of a decade ago, despite the much larger active fleet of aircraft.

November was another growth month for business aviation in Europe, with 61,837 flight departures, up 6.1% YOY, taking the YTD growth trend to 4.2%. Activity in November 2017 was still 10.5% behind the pre-crisis peak back in November-2007.

Continuing the recent trend, the biggest growth came in Western Europe, with business aviation departures up significantly from leading markets UK, Spain and Switzerland. For the year-to-date, Germany has added the most flights.

Of the smaller markets, Greece, Belgium, and Portugal had well over 15% growth this month, with flights from Poland and Croatia up 25% YOY. Business aviation flights from Turkey were down 12%, but still have 6% growth YTD.

France was by far the busiest domestic market, with 7,000 flights, up 2% YOY. Flights from France to Germany were up 11%, and from France to Spain, up 31%. Flights within the UK were up 10% this month. Domestic flights in Italy declined 3%.

Business aviation arrivals into Europe were up due to strong growth in transatlantic connections; elsewhere, arrivals from CIS region and Middle East were flat, and North Africa arrivals were down. Flights to Latin America declined 5% YOY.

AOC activity continued to be the main overall growth driver, representing 47% of activity and up 10% YOY. Charter growth rates since the summer have exceeded 8% each month. Private activity slightly improved this month, although flat for business jet sectors.

The growth in AOC operations this month came mainly in large cabin sectors, with Ultra-Long Range and Heavy Jet flights up almost 20%. Light Jet activity was up 9%, and has increased every month this year. Only Midsize jets flew less YOY this month.

Besides the continued strong growth in newer business jet platforms such as Phenom 300 and Global Express, older types such as Challenger 600 saw substantial increase in AOC activity, and in Private flights, the CJ2 was up by 25% YOY.

Solid growth at leading airports Le Bourget and Nice, the latter adding most growth of any airport this year. Notably Geneva saw 13% growth in departures, all from increased AOC activity. Ibiza had 15% growth and Biggin Hill departures were up by 23% YOY.

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