28/10/2021 – WINGX’s weekly Business Aviation Bulletin.
The outsized growth in business jet activity continues, well on trend to set industry records this month. Much higher levels of business jet movements at prestigious events like the US Grand Prix highlights the enduring post-Covid demand for on-demand travel. Next month´s opening of transatlantic travel will provide further impetus to the business jet.
As October 2021 draws to an end, global business aviation activity, just above 400,000 sectors, is trending up by 13% compared to October 2019. Global scheduled airline activity is trending down by 28% this month versus two years ago, showing steady but slow improvement compared to September when flights trended 33% below 2019, and August, 40% below 2019. For the year to date, business aviation movements are up 1.4%, and for business jets only, sectors are up 4% this year. If trends stay on track, the business aviation sector will post its busiest ever year, whereas the commercial airlines will remain at least a third below normal activity going into 2022.
Chart 1: Global scheduled and business aviation activity in October 2021 vs 2020 and 2019
The North American market has seen a 16% rebound in business jet sectors so far this month compared to October 2019, on trend for the sixth successive record-breaking month. Depleted airline schedules, 26% below comparative October 2019, continue to bring new customers to bizav. The United States is the strongest market, with domestic business jet trips up by 21% vs October 2019, up 43% on October last year. Business jet activity in Canada is recovering, within 5% of two years ago this month. Mexico continues to see a very slow recovery, although US to Mexico flights are up 18% on 2019. Flights between the US and Caribbean destinations like Virgin Islands and Turks are up over 40% this month. Flights between the US and Puerto Rico are double where they were in October 2019.
The US Grand Prix at the Circuit of Americas in Austin, Texas was the month´s biggest draw for business jet arrivals, up by over 50% in the 4 days before the Grand Prix, compared to the same race at the same venue back in November 2019. Most of the connections were long sectors, inbound from California, Florida, and the North East coast. The busiest connection was from Van Nuys into Austin Bergstrom International. Teterboro and Dallas were other popular departure points into the Grand Prix airports. The most popular aircraft was the Challenger 300, 36 arrivals preceding the event.
Chart 2: Arrivals into airports close to US Grand Prix circuit October 2021
For the country as a whole, Florida remains the busiest US State, maintaining 43% more sectors this month than in October 2019. Year to date, business jet departures from Florida are up 32% compared to 2019. The Florida connections with the largest increase this year are with the North East, notably Teterboro and White Plains, business jet flights up by over 60% compared to pre-pandemic October. Phenom 300 aircraft are operating a big share of the work, flights up by close to 70%. Older aircraft are also getting much higher utilisation, including Challenger 600 platform, Citation Encore, Gulfstream G300, Falcon 900. The Global Express platform, including the Global 6500, has seen a 15% pick-up in activity from Florida this year compared to 2019.
In Europe, October is proving to be a major outlier compared to previous years, when business jet activity normally sees a significant fall off. So far this month, sectors are up 32% compared to October 2019, and year-to-date, business jet activity in Europe has now eclipsed 2019 by 2%. The most popular aircraft this year have a lighter, smaller profile that in the US: both Phenom 300 and Citation Mustang activity are up 15% compared to two years ago. The Embraer Legacy 600 is the most in-demand large jet, sectors trending up by 11% this year. Gulfstream 600/650 utilisation is still catching up in Europe, sectors down 15% for January through October this year vs 2019. But this month, Gulfstream G600/650 flights are up by 22% compared to same period October 2019.
Chart 3 – Business aviation sectors flown in Europe (7-day rolling) since 2019
Rest of World
Outside Europe and the US, the biggest rebounds in October 2021 are in Turkey, business jet sectors up by 59% compared to two years ago, notably only 3% up on October last year. Russia has seen comparable business jet activity, with this month´s departures moving 22% ahead of October 2019. Ukraine has almost 50% more activity than two years ago, moving above Poland for total departures. In other global markets, Nigeria, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, all have much more business jet activity than October 2019. Flight activity in Australia is ebbing behind pre-pandemic trends. Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Japan are three countries where business jet activity is still well below where it was in October 2019.
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