Coronavirus impact on worldwide business aviation activity

WINGX Market Tracker, 27th March

Through Thursday 26th March, business jet flight activity was down by 21% compared to the first 26 days of March in 2019. Europe and Asia are hardest hit, both markets down by more than 25%, although North America has registered the biggest loss, 24,026 fewer sectors in the month so far.

 


WINGX Market Tracker, as of 25th March

Business aviation flights to and from Europe are down by 24% so far in March 2020 compared to the same days in March 2019. The slowdown accelerated into a slump last week, with flight activity over the most recent weekend falling by 70%.

Italy has been most affected, with business jet and turbo prop flights down by 65% this month, which amounts to a reduction of just under 2,000 sectors. Flights from and to France, Turkey, Belgium, Netherlands and Poland are down by 30% or more. Transatlantic flights are also down by a third this month.

UK is the busiest business aviation market this month, with only 8% reduction in flight movements, and flight hours for flights are trending up so far in March. There has also been an increase in flights from Sweden, Portugal, Latvia and Estonia. Flights from Europe to Cyprus, China and UAE are up this month.

In terms of airport activity, the top airports have seen significant decrease in activity, although these reductions are generally trending below the overall market decline. Le Bourget and Geneva are significant exceptions. Month-to-date trends for London airports show less effect, and indeed Biggin Hill activity is up so far this month.

All aircraft segments are flying a lot less compared to March 2019, with the biggest drops in large aircraft activity; Bizliners, Ultra-long range and Heavy jets. Very light and Super light jet activity is least affected, down by 10-15%.

The busiest aircraft types so far this month have been light jets and props, such as King Air 200, PC-12, Citation Mustang, Phenom 300, CJ2. Bombardier Global 6000/6500 is the busiest large jet MTD. A few aircraft have increased activity in March, including Lear 40 and PC-24.

By Operator Type, Aircraft Management companies have seen 40% reduction in flights, whereas Branded Charter operators, which had strong growth at the start of the month, are down only 10% MTD. Ambulance flights have more than doubled, whereas ad hoc Cargo operator activity has slumped.

Richard Koe comments: “In the first week of this month, as the virus diffused across Europe, business aviation activity increased in several countries, reflecting the increasingly urgent demand for rescue and repatriation. With Europe becoming the epicentre of the pandemic in the last 10 days, government suppression policies have eroded that demand more severely. So far this week, business aviation is operating at about 50% of normal frequency, which may indicate an ongoing resilience. This could be essential, with airline capacity shutting down and scheduled flights down by almost 80%.”

In upcoming Trackers WINGX will be capturing all global business aviation activity on a multiregional basis and relating these trends to wider trends in airline and cargo movements.

 


About WINGX

WINGX is a data analytics and consulting company which provides actionable market intelligence to the business aviation industry. WINGX services include: Market Insight Reports, Online Dashboards, Customised Research, Strategic Consulting, Market Forecasts and Surveys. WINGX customers include aircraft operators, airframe, engine and avionics OEMs, airlines, maintenance providers, airports, fixed based operators, Satcom providers, fuel providers, legal advisors, leasing companies, banks, regulators, investors and private jet users.

 


 

WINGX Market Tracker, as of 24th March

Business aviation activity has slowed to a trickle as Europe has become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. Flights during this past weekend were down more than 70%. Just under 500 flights were operated on Sunday 22nd March, compared to more than 1,500 in an average Sunday in March 2019.

It appears that the surge in business aviation demand in some sectors last week has come to an abrupt end, reflecting the completion of repatriation and rescue flights, and the onset of a near-uniform lock down enacted by European governments, which has frozen travel demand.

Business aviation flights are now down by 40% when compared to the first 3 weeks of March last year. Network airline traffic has fallen by even more, which suggests that business aviation may continue to offer a critical transportation of last resort during the lock down.

This emergency role for business aviation is indicative in the growth of ambulance flights, doubled so far this year. Two aircraft types stand out with increased activity: the PC-24 and the Cirrus SR-50.  As and when lock down measures get relaxed and travel demand re-emerges, operators of similar light aircraft fleets may be in the best position to respond.


WINGX Market Tracker, as of 17th March

Overall, business aviation flight activity in Europe is down by 6.9% during the first 17 days of March period, compared with the same period in March 2019. There have been big fluctuations day-day, and a trend towards severe overall decline during the last few days.

In the busiest business aviation markets, France has seen the largest decline, 12% fewer flights, with Germany down by 4%, but so far Spain, UK and Sweden departures are all up vs same period 2019.

Small aircraft have evidently been doing much of the repatriation work, mainly within Europe; Super Light, Super Mid, Very Light and Entry Level flights are up. Large Jet activity is well down.

Paris Le Bourget has seen the biggest drop in activity Month-To-Date (MTD), flights down by 11%. Whereas, so far, flights out of London are well up, notably from Farnborough, Luton and Biggin Hill.

In terms of domestic country activity, France and Italy have seen very big reductions. Flights within Germany and within Sweden are well up. MTD trends are converging downwards in last week.

By Operator Type, Aircraft Management companies have seen a big reduction in travel, whereas Branded Charter operators have growth trends MTD. Private flight departments also busier.

Richard Koe comments:

• Business aviation is clearly impacted by the Coronavirus, with accelerating declines in the last few days belying the overall 7% drop month-to-date. We expect flights to dry up next week once restrictions are stricter and the repatriation rush is done.
• That said, notwithstanding the enforcement of personal travel, we do expect a strong demand for business aviation to fill gaps left by the grounding of airline capacity. By comparison with business aviation, airline flights have declined much more heavily.
• Looking forward, the economic impact of the Coronavirus, already well evident in stock markets and bond yields, is bound to strike the business aviation industry relatively hard, particularly where expenditure has been discretionary.

• In upcoming Trackers WINGX will be capturing all global business aviation activity on a multiregional basis and relating these trends to wider trends in airline and cargo movements.

 


About WINGX

WINGX is a data analytics and consulting company which provides actionable market intelligence to the business aviation industry. WINGX services include: Market Insight Reports, Online Dashboards, Customised Research, Strategic Consulting, Market Forecasts and Surveys. WINGX customers include aircraft operators, airframe, engine and avionics OEMs, airlines, maintenance providers, airports, fixed based operators, Satcom providers, fuel providers, legal advisors, leasing companies, banks, regulators, investors and private jet users.

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