Business Aviation Monitor – January 2017
A strong start to the year, especially in the charter market, although the YOY growth is partly down to last year’s very weak January. The market is still fragile, activity well below the pre-crisis peak in 2008, but the last 12-month trends indicate a solid recovery is underway. The impetus is coming from business jets, especially charters, with light jet and very light jets flying much more. Operator consolidation and digital brokerage platforms appear to be supporting these growth trends.
50,335 business aviation departures in Europe in January 2017, 4.4% growth in activity compared to a very weak January 2016. The last 12-month trend is slightly positive although activity is still trailing the pre-crisis 2008 benchmark by more than 15%.
Business jets operated 64% of flights in January, with a steady 2% growth in Private flights and a notable 11% increase in AOC sectors. Turboprop and Piston business aviation activity was flat YOY, extending a negative last 12-month trend.
Strong growth in flight activity in Western and Southern Europe this month, with flights from France up 6%, adding almost 500 departures YOY. Flight activity in UK, Germany and Switzerland gained 3%. Spain and Austria were up more than 10%.
The main growth this month came from AOC activity, with charter flights out of Switzerland and Spain up 13%, and from Austria and France, a YOY increase of 20%. Italy was one of the few markets with declining activity, all from reduced Private flights.
Intra-European flight activity was up 5%, well ahead of the 0.5% trend last year. Arrivals into Europe from Russia declined 7%, and inbound from North America fell 1%, although flights from Europe to North America were up 6% YOY.
Private flights were up by 1% in January, a recovery from negative trends in 2016. Private activity was boosted by strong activity growth in SLJ and VLJ segments. Private flights on Cessna, Gulfstream and Learjet aircraft saw big YOY growth.
Overall AOC activity growth of 8%, the largest YOY jump in the last 12 months, came mainly from business jet segments, notably Embraer jets, increasing YOY AOC activity more than 30%. VLJ charter sectors were up 14% this month.
Of the busiest airports, Le Bourget and Vienna had activity growth of 10%, and Munich, Aix-les-Bains and Vaclav Havel airports increased departures by more than 20%. Farnborough AOC flights were up 12%, but Private flights declined 13% YOY.