Summer charter demand keeps the market growing

4 Oct 2017

Business Aviation Monitor – September 2017

The summer season for business aviation slowed slightly in September but still saw strong demand in Charter activity, especially in the Small Jet segments. By contrast, Owner flight activity continues to stagnate. Newer aircraft such as the Citation Latitude are seeing very strong growth, although older types including the Citation Bravo and Legacy 600 are also much busier year on year. It will be interesting to see if the charter market can sustain its growth trend going into the 4th Quarter.

There were 79,280 business aviation departures in September, up 2.9% YOY, taking the YTD trend to 3.6%. Activity in September 2017 was still 4.4% behind the pre-crisis peak in September-2008.

All the leading markets were up, with modest gains in Germany, UK, Italy, 3% growth in France, and 8% growth in Switzerland. Germany, Spain and UK are seeing a combined increase of around 1,000 flights per month so far this year.

Smaller markets with strong growth included Greece, flights up 14%, and Turkey, flight activity gaining 10% YOY. There was some decline in Norway, and flights were down 6% from Ireland, down 8% from Croatia.

The Southern Med region continued to be the hub for growth in business aviation this month, flights up 7% in September. Eastern Europe saw 2% gains, but is still trending up 5% YTD. Overall, business aviation flights within Europe were up 3%.

Flights from Europe to other global regions were muted, with flat activity to Middle East and declines to North America and CIS region. Arrivals into Europe from Asia-Pac were up 21%, and arrivals from China increased almost 40% YOY.

The main growth continues to come from AOC activity, with 39,288 AOC flights this month, up 7.5% YOY. AOC activity has grown in every month since October 2016. Business jet AOC flights were up 9% this month. Private flights declined YOY.

The largest YOY growth in flights this month came from the Textron fleet, sectors up by 5%. Textron Light jet sectors were up 10% YOY, and Midsize flights were up 80%. Embraer aircraft saw most increase in activity, up 29% overall, +37% in AOC activity.

The busiest aircraft types this month were Citation Excel/XLS, activity, up by 3%, and King Air 200, flights decreasing by 6% YOY. Phenom 300 AOC activity is seeing growth of almost 60%. Citation Bravo AOC activity was up more than 10% YOY.

A few of the busiest airports saw some decline this month, including Le Bourget, Luton and Linate. Nice had strong growth, flights up by 11%, and AOC sectors gaining 16%. Biggin Hill departures were up by 15%, AOC flights up by 27%.

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