US demand peaking, whilst Europe sees much bigger year-on-year rebound.
9/6/2022 – WINGX’s weekly Business Aviation Bulletin.
Business jet demand is defying general economic turbulence, with worldwide leisure destinations pulling in record numbers of visitors. Aircraft owners are now setting the pace for record-breaking flying. Charter and Fractional flying in the US market appears to be at a plateau, with little increase on summer last year. In Europe the YOY growth is much stronger than in the US.
After 12 consecutive record-breaking months for business jet activity, the first few days of June 2022 hint at a mild cooling off. Compared to the same week in 2021, business jet flights in the last 7 days are up by 10%, with 20% increase versus June 2019. Scheduled airline activity, measured by sectors operated globally, is inching back, still down by 23% versus June three years ago. Cargo operations are clearly slowing, 9% less busy this month than last year, although still above pre-pandemic. In week 22, 30th May to 5th June, global Part 135 and 91K business jet activity was 11% up on 2021, volumes slipping down 2% compared to week 21 this year.
Chart 1: Business jet sectors flown globally since January 2019
There were just under 50,000 business jet flights operated in the US in week 22 of 2022, up by 21% compared to same week in 2019, up 12% compared to last year. The Part 135 and 91K traffic came off by 3% compared to week 21 and was only 1% up on week 22 in 2021. Over the last 4 weeks, 135 and 91K flights are up 5% in the US compared to last year. Corporate flight departments were only 3% busier than pre-pandemic in week 22, in comparison with Private flight departments, 30% busier. The hotspot demand is for medium-short trips, with duration of between 1.5 to 3 hours; these are up 38% compared to 3 years ago.
Flight activity in Mexico is rebounding fast, with year on year bizjet activity up 12% in week 22. Business jet flights in Canada are barely recovering, only 1% stronger than same week in 2021. Still, compared to almost complete standstill last year, connections between the US and Canada are up by a factor of five. The US connection with biggest growth since 2019 is Turks & Caicos; flights back to the US from Memorial Weekend holiday were up by 253%. Florida is now ranking as the 3rd busiest US State, with business jet activity still up by 61% compared to pre pandemic week 22, but down by 6% compared to last year. Since the start of May, intra-Florida business jet activity is up by 4% compared to last year.
Chart 2 – Business Jet connections within North America in week 22 2022
In the European area, the rebound compared to 2021 has been much stronger than in the US, underlining the relatively severe travel restrictions in Europe this time last year. Business jet activity is up 31% since May 1st this year compared to last year, up by 18% compared to 3 years ago. Over this period, the Mediterranean countries have seen the biggest growth in business jet visitors – Spain, Italy, Turkey, Greece – have all seen at least 30% growth this year compared to 2019. Business jet travel in the UK is up by 24% since the start of May, compared to May-June 2021. The Jubilee period in the UK does not appear to have galvanized an additional spike in flights; in week 22, inbound flights were up by 11% compared to same week back in 2019. Farnborough had 4% less traffic in week 22 YOY, although Biggin Hill maintained its growth streak, business jet arrivals up by 50% compared to 3 years ago.
Chart 3 – Business European airports during week 22 2022 vs prior years
Rest of World
Outside Europe and North America, the Middle East is maintaining strong growth in business jet demand, with week 22 19% busier than last year, 7% busier than week 22. Business jet flights in Africa are up 26%, Asia 24%, South America 22%, all compared to week 22 in 2021. Amongst the busiest ROW airports is Seletar, rebounding off its slow recovery in 2021, outbound flights gaining 180% in week 22 2022 versus last year. Al Maktoum continues to attract record business jet travel, up 33% in the latest week, an astounding 333% growth compared to week 22 back in 2019. China ranks as 7th busiest domestic market for business jet activity, flights down 58% compared to week 22 last year.
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