Business aviation activity growth trends continued to slow this month, with muted recovery in leading markets such as France and UK, and Italy´s recovery now in danger of reversing. Spain is an exception, maintaining strong growth, and Greece continues its bounce-back in demand. Growth is being sustained in the Midsize and Small Jet sectors, notably Light Jets such as Phenom 300. May´s activity was characterised by high profile calendar dates in South of France, and in Ukraine, all these events showing strong YOY growth in business jet activity.
79,601 business aviation departures in Europe in May 2018, a 1% increase YOY, which is behind the YTD trend of 2.3% and trailing last year´s growth of >3%. The 3% growth in business jet activity this month was offset by a slump in Piston traffic.
Mixed trends for the biggest business aviation markets, with France down by 2%, UK and Switzerland flat, departures from Italy down by 4%, but activity in Spain up 7%. YTD, flights from Spain are up 5%, ahead of Germany, trending up by 4%.
Among smaller markets, activity fell 5% in Austria, 3% in Russia, in line with YTD trend, and slumped 15% in Turkey, accelerating long term decline in demand. Greece had another month of robust growth, flights up by 15%, with a 2018 trend of +20%.
This month all top 10 markets slowed in Large Jet activity, by most in France, -9%, and Austria, Switzerland, Italy, all seeing >10% YOY declines. Growth came in Small and Midsize jets, notably in France and Spain. Switzerland had 10% growth in Prop activity.
Whilst activity within Europe was slightly up, reflecting 2% growth in sub-1.5H jet sectors, departures to extra-European regions were down, by 4% to the US, and by more than 20% to the Middle East. YTD-18 trends for connections with Asia are up by 9%.
AOC/Charter activity had one of its weaker months since its growth run started back in 2016, with May-18 <1% up on May-17. Charter growth for business jets was slightly stronger, comprising 67% of all jet sectors and rising by 2% YOY.
Much of the AOC/Charter growth came from Spain and Greece this month, with contrasting declines in Switzerland and Italy. Commercial activity was driven by ULR, SMJ, LJ growth, with offsetting declines in VLJ, ELJ, MSJ segments.
Private flight trends recovered for the 2nd month running, posting 1% growth, generated mainly by PC12 activity, and stronger growth in Business Jets, with owner flying on Challenger 600 jets up by 7%, and on Excel/XLS, private missions up by 16%.
Paris airports had less than half the activity of London this month, but much stronger growth, mainly from LFPB and LFPN, and mainly in Small and Midsize sectors, up by 13%. Large Jet activity declined at most leading airports, EGKB the notable exception.