Memorial Day travel demand boosts recovery in US, other regions lagging

4 Jun 2020

According to WINGX` weekly Global Market Tracker

Global business aviation activity is trailing by 51% comparing May and the first few days of June 2020 with the same period last year. North America is the most robust region, with activity over the period recovering to 49% of normal levels, having been down by three-quarters in April. Starting May with a rolling 7-day average of 3,800 daily sectors, North America ended the month at around 6,200, an improvement of 63%. In the US, sectors flown in the last 7 days, which includes Memorial Day demand, are down only 39% compared to the same dates in 2019.

After North America, the bulk of business aviation activity has operated out of Europe, with trends still just over 60% below normal. Oceania has recovered by most, with traffic only 25% below normal, and South America is now running 27% below par. In Asia flight activity since the start of May is down by just over 50% year on year, although it’s more than doubled in the last week. At the start of the May, only half the normally active worldwide fleet was operational, and by the end of the month fleet employment was down only 20% on normal.

By country, business aviation demand appears to be most robust in Australia and Sweden, with jets and props operating 20% below comparative periods in 2019. Germany is the busiest country in Europe, with flights 44% below usual. Sectors flown within Germany are only 20% fewer than normal. Flight activity in Russia and France is respectively 53% and 63% down. The countries seeing the largest negative impacts are still the UK, Spain, Italy, flight activity reduced by 70% and more.

The busiest airports since May 1st have been in Florida, Texas and Arizona, with West Palm Beach at the top, flights trending down by 20%, then Dallas Love Field and then Scottsdale airport. Naples airport, ranked 4th by business aviation departures, has actually seen some growth in May 2020 compared to May 2019. Flight activity from Teterboro is still languishing 80% below. In Europe, Le Bourget, Geneva and Zurich are busiest, then Biggin Hill. Elsewhere, Vnukovo has been the busiest business jet hub, and Brisbane busiest for turboprop traffic.

The trend in traffic by business jet segment continues to show more resilience in large cabin than in lighter aircraft. For example, Bizliner movements are down by almost 80%, with ultra-long range and heavy jet flights still well under 60% of usual activity. Midsize segment, from Super Mid to Super Light, are flying around half normal levels. The best performing segments are Very Light and Entry Level jets, and Turboprops. The PC-12 and King Air 200 have operated 20% of flights during the period, with comparable year on year activity down some 35%. Cirrus SF50 jet activity is slightly up in this period.

Richard Koe comments: “The US market appears to be entering a faster recovery phase, with holiday travel in the last week seeing close to normal activity for the end of May. Overall, Aircraft Management companies have the strongest overall trend, although some Charter Operators have almost regained usual levels. Europe is still lagging, with business aviation traffic down by 60%, though still much better than scheduled airlines, sectors more than 80% below.”

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Categories: COVID Impact