Seasonal low-point indicates weakening demand in Western Europe

4 Jan 2019

Business Aviation Monitor – November 2018

Richard Koe, Managing Director of WINGX Advance, comments:

“Flight activity trends in November reflect widespread anecdotal evidence that the market has seen a substantial slowdown, which may be just a seasonal drop-off but may also hint at growing economic concerns in the European region. The overall trends, which are flat YOY, camouflage the underlying fall in business jet demand, clearly faltering in the Charter market. There are exceptions, most notably the comeback in demand for Medium-size jets.”


According to WINGX`s latest monthly Business Aviation Monitor
62,726 business aviation departures in Europe this month, a big drop off from the tail-end of the summer´s activity, and down 1% YOY in business jet activity. Business aviation activity in Europe now has a rolling 12-month trend of +2%.

Some growth in France this month, and fairly strong increase in YOY activity in Germany and Spain. But business aviation flight departures were off more than 5% YOY from UK, Italy and Switzerland. Domestic UK activity fell by 9% YOY.

YTD growth, after 11 months of 2018, is still up in all top 6 markets, although only substantial in Germany and Spain. Netherlands, Finland, Portugal, Greece and Hungary have strong trends this year. Substantial declines in 2018 for Turkey.

Large Jet activity was up 1% this month, with solid 4% gains from UK, Italy, Germany, and 8% growth in France, but slightly down in Spain, and slumping 11% in Switzerland. Small and Midsize activity declined 2.5% overall, -8% in UK.

Flights to North America from Europe were robustly up this month, although transatlantic flights into Europe were down. Middle East arrivals into Europe continued to decline around 10% compared to last year. Flights to Africa are up by 8% so far this year.

AOC/Charter and Private flights were equally flat this month. Charter activity has run out of steam since this summer, having grown solidly most months since 2016. Charter activity out of the UK this month fell by 10%. Private flights out of Italy were -13% YOY.

SMJ activity continued to power most of the market growth, with 15% growth in 3H-6H sectors, 26% of its total activity. Cessna and Bombardier SMJ types are lending most of the growth. Dassault SMJ activity was down 17% YOY.

Light Jet activity was up 6%, with 8% growth in Charter, all the increase coming from Cessna aircraft. In contrast, VLJ activity continues to slump, Charter sectors falling 27% YOY. ULR Jets continue to see strong AOC growth, although most activity was Private, flat YOY.

Most of the top airports saw a fairly sharp decline this month, notably Geneva. Farnborough was an exception, with 25% YOY growth in departures. Private activity out of Linate was down by 28% YOY, and Charters out of Zurich fell 16% YOY.