Summer growth ends, but business jet charter resilient

7 Nov 2016

Business Aviation Monitor – October 2016

October was down YOY and posted the lowest October monthly activity for several years. But the declining trend was exaggerated by the significant fall in turboprop and piston activity. The underlying business jet activity was flat, and business jet charters continued to grow. To some extent this reflects the increased size of the largest AOC fleets, but there also appears to be some expansion in overall demand, with online charter platforms in particular bringing new users into the industry.


There were 66,921 business aviation departures in Europe in October 2016, 2.8% YOY decline in activity. The slowdown came in Prop activity; Business Jet flights were flat YOY. Overall YTD 2016 trend in business aviation activity is now -0.3% compared to 2015.

Faltering demand in France and Germany weighed the market down. From these 2 countries there were 1600 fewer flight departures YOY in October. Business aviation flights within Germany slumped 10%. Charter activity in France fell 7% YOY.

Other large markets UK and Switzerland were also weaker this month on a YOY basis. The UK still has growth YTD, averaging >100 more flights each month compared to last year. But this month flights from the UK to Europe were down by 4%.

The one region of Europe which maintained summer growth trends was the Med, with flight activity in Italy up 2%, and in Spain, up 7%. The growth in Spain came from Private business jet flights, in Italy, from growth in AOC sectors.

Flight activity in Eastern Europe was flat YOY. From Russia, activity subsided by 7%, although flights from Europe to Russia were flat YOY. Transatlantic activity was also flat. Inbound flights from Africa were well up this month.

Whilst overall AOC activity was very slightly down this month, business jet AOC flights grew 2% YOY. AOC activity is getting a considerable boost this year from the larger operators expanding their fleets, especially in ULR, SMJ and LJ segments.

The VLJ segment continued to grow, with flight hours up 7% this month. VLJ sectors represented about 15% of all Light Jet charters in October. VLJ Private activity was down 1%, but VLJ Charters were up >10%. Fastest growth came from Phenom 100 activity.

Heavy, Midsize and older Entry Level jets saw significant activity declines this month, especially in Owner activity. These declines are mainly evident in Dassault and Hawker fleets. Pilatus activity was up 2%, Piaggio flights were up >10%.

Nice and Cannes, Biggin Hill, and Stansted were some of the airports with strong growth this month. Le Bourget, Linate, Farnborough and Vnukovo had steepest declines. For Private flights, most growth at Mallorca, and for AOC activity, Nice.

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