Hurricane Ian blunts strong autumn demand for bizjets in US

6 Oct 2022

06/10/2022 – WINGX’s weekly Business Aviation Bulletin.  

Hurricane Ian was one of the most powerful storms in history so it’s little wonder that business jet traffic, particularly in Florida, was significantly down in the last week. Meanwhile business jet demand in Europe is well off 2021 highs, although these were one-off spikes. Year-to-date, after 9 months of 2022, flight activity is still up more than 10% on 2019 but is probably now trending towards a full year par with 2021.

Just over 470,000 business jet and prop sectors were operated globally during September 2022, 4% more than September 2021, 16% more than in September 2019. Focusing on business jets, activity in September was up 3% compared to last year, 20% ahead of September 2019. Airline activity finished September 13% busier than September last year, still down 21% compared to September three years ago. Focusing on the top global airlines Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Ryanair, Delta Airlines and United airlines, airline flights in September were 12% up on September last year, 1% less than three years ago.

Chart 1 – Global Fixed Wing activity September 2022 compared to previous years

North America
Business jet activity in North America in September 2022 was 5% ahead of last year, 18% ahead of 2019. In the last 4 weeks activity is up 5% compared to the same period last year. In the opening 3 days of October, activity has fallen by 12% compared to last year, 6% below three years ago. In terms of business jet segment, Ultra Long Range Jet sectors were up almost 30% compared to September 2019.

Chart 2 – North America Bizjet Aircraft Segments, September compared to previous years

Week 39 business jet sectors in the North America region dropped 9% compared to the previous week, and were 4% below the same week last year. Hurricane Ian’s impact on the US coastline was the obvious cause of disruption. Across the United States week 39 business jet sectors dropped 9% compared to week 38, 5% below week 39 last year. Florida took the biggest impact, with departures down 25% compared to the previous week, the Sunshine State recording a new rolling 52 week low of just over 3,700 flights. Elsewhere in the region, the hurricane’s effect was obvious in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Chart 3 – North America Business Jet activity during Hurricane Ian, week 39 2022 compared to previous years

Business jet activity in Europe in September 2022 was 8% down on September 2021, still 18% above September 2019, three years ago. In the last four weeks activity has slipped 9% below the same period last year, with flights in week 39 down 2% compared to the previous week, down 10% compared to last year same week. Heading into the first 3 days of October, activity is down 13% compared to last year, just 1% above three years ago. France was the busiest bizjet market in September, activity 15% below last year. Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland were other major markets that saw activity fall substantially compared to last year. Flights out of the United Kingdom was up 4% compared to last year. Summer leisure spots saw big declines in activity in September. Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Cannes-Mandelieu and Athens all saw double digit declines compared to last year. Contrast Ibiza and Milan Linate, both seeing demand above last year by 2% and 7% respectively. Airports near the Monaco yacht show saw a small increase in activity compared to the 2019 event. Average arrivals during the 5 days before the event and during the first 3 days of the event were overall up 2% this year compared to the 2019 edition.

Chart 4 – Bizjet arrivals Monaco Yacht Show 2022 compared to 2019

Click to expand

Rest of World
Business jet activity outside of North America and Europe continues to trend upwards. Activity in September was 60% above three years ago, 20% above the levels of September last year. Demand came from private flight departments, flying 36% more than last year, double compared to three years ago. In the last four weeks Asia has seen the largest increase compared to last year, flights up 28%. Heading towards the World Cup later this month, the Middle East is seeing strong growth on what was already a record-breaking 2021: business jet movements were up 19% in week 39 YOY and up by 21% over the last 4 weeks.

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