Business aviation departures from Europe were down by 34% in March 2020 compared to March 2019. Overall, there were 17,800 fewer flights flown month on month. Declines have accelerated towards the end of the month, with the last few days seeing close to 50% reductions.
Activity in Italy has been most affected, with just over 1,000 departures during the entire month, 70% below March 2019 activity. Activity in normally the busiest market France was down by 43%. Germany and Switzerland saw declines of over 30%. Flights in the UK fell by 23%. Over the whole month, flights in Sweden were up, by 1.3%.
Le Bourget, Nice and Geneva have seen the largest declines in business aviation activity this month, all seeing declines of at least 35%. Of the leading airports, Biggin Hill has least impact, March activity down by only 1%. Flight activity out of Malaga was slightly up this month.
All aircraft segments have seen severe declines, with Ultra Long-Range aircraft most impacted, operations down by 40%. Super Light and Very Light Jet activity is down by around 25%. The King Air 200 is the busiest aircraft, activity down by 19%. Citation Latitude flight hours are up this month.
Branded Charter and Private flight departments cut back activity by 20% in Europe over the month, whilst Aircraft Management companies registered a 50% fall in flight activity. Ambulance traffic more than doubled.
In the United States, business aviation flight activity fell by 30% compared to March 2019. That decline equates to more than 100,000 business aviation sectors month on month. The first half of the month saw modest turbulence, with declines accelerating from there; on 31st March flight activity fell 66% compared to the same date in March 2019 (and that compares Tuesday with a Sunday).
Globally, downward trends in business aviation are quite even, with North American flight activity down by just under 30%, Asia and Europe seeing trends closer to 35% decline.
Richard Koe comments: “The abruptness of the decline in business aviation activity this month is only comparable to the effect of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption back in 2010, only with much longer and more severe consequences. WINGX expects a trough in flight activity in April, which may see some countries completely shut down flights. With an optimistic outlook for ending virus containment, we might see renewed demand for flights by the summer, at which point business aviation may have a window of opportunity to meet pent-up demand whilst the airline capacity is still parked.”
Watch Richard Koe interviewed for Biz Jet TV (2nd April 2020)
About WINGX WINGX is a data analytics and consulting company which provides actionable market intelligence to the business aviation industry. WINGX services include: Market Insight Reports, Online Dashboards, Customised Research, Strategic Consulting, Market Forecasts and Surveys. WINGX customers include aircraft operators, airframe, engine and avionics OEMs, airlines, maintenance providers, airports, fixed based operators, Satcom providers, fuel providers, legal advisors, leasing companies, banks, regulators, investors and private jet users.
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