Coronavirus impact on worldwide business aviation activity

Thanksgiving jet activity down 6% on last year but up 13% on 2019

01/12/2022 – WINGX’s weekly Business Aviation Bulletin.  

Summary
The Thanksgiving holidays saw the usual strong demand for business jet travel, though falling short of last year’s record peak. Europe continues to see bizjet activity falling off the post-covid rebound. Elsewhere there is still strong growth in bizjet demand, especially in the Middle East.

Global
So far this month (1st – 27th November 2022), there have been just under 400,000 business jet and turboprop flights globally, 1% below the same 27 days in November 2021, 10% ahead of 2019.

Scheduled airlines are flying 12% more than last year, although still 23% below three years ago. Focussing on the busiest global airlines (American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Ryanair), flight activity so far this month is 10% ahead of 2021, 1% below 2019. Dedicated cargo air-freighters are flying 3% more than three years ago, sectors dipping 5% below last year.

Chart 1: Global fixed wing flights, 1st – 27th November 2022, compared to previous years

North America
As November winds up, business jet activity in North America is trending 3% below November 2021, 14% up on November three years ago. In Week 47, ending 27th November, activity dropped 16% compared to the previous week, on par with week 47 in 2021.

In the United States, bizjet flights in the last four weeks are 2% down on November last year. In Week 47 sectors dropped 18% compared to week 46, but were on par with week 47 2021.

Teterboro is the busiest bizjet airport in the US in November, departures are up 3% compared to last year, still down 5% compared to three years ago. Dallas Love Field is the only other top 10 bizjet airport to see growth compared to last year, departures up 6%, 14% above three years ago. Palm Beach International is the airport in the top 10 with the largest increase in flights compared to three years ago, bizjet departures up 51% compared to 2019.

Chart 2: North American business jet airports November 1st – 27th 2022 compared to previous years

Bizjet activity across the Thanksgiving holiday weekend (Thursday through Sunday) was 6% below Thanksgiving holiday 2021, 37% up on 2020 and 13% above 2019.

Palm Beach – Teterboro was the busiest bizjet pair this Thanksgiving holiday, flights between the two airports were up 50% compared to last year’s holiday, 200% up on 2019. Other major bizjet airport pairs saw mixed demand over this year’s holiday period. McCarran – John Wayne Orange County connections were down 3% compared to the 2021 holiday and Miami Opa Locka – Teterboro connections were down 9% compared to three years ago.

This Thanksgiving scheduled airlines were also less busy than last year, 1% fewer flights across the Thursday – Sunday period compared to last year, 15% below Thanksgiving 2019.

Chart 3: US Bizjet flights Thanksgiving holidays 2022 compared to previous years

Europe
Business jet sectors in Europe are trending down by 17% compared to November last year, although 7% above three years ago.

By country, the United Kingdom is the busiest market, flight sectors 16% below last November, although 8% above three years ago. Germany, the second biggest market has seen 11% fewer sectors than last November, 3% below three years ago. Turkey and Sweden are the only top markets to see growth compared to last year. Departures from Le Bourget are down 15% compared to last November, Geneva outbound flights are down 20%. Luton, Munich and Vienna are three airports where bizjet activity has fallen behind 2019 levels.

Chart 4: European business jet operator types, 1st – 27th November 2022

Rest of World
So far this month business jet activity outside of North America and Europe is trending 22% above last year, 62% above three years ago. Bizjet activity in Africa in the last four weeks is 16% above last year, Asia up 31%, Middle East up 12%, South America up 2%.

In the Middle East business jet activity is trending 24% above week 47 last year, well above the year-to-date trend due to the World Cup in Qatar. In the opening 8 days of the tournament (20th – 27th November), average daily arrivals into OTHH, OTBD, OTBK airports are up 302% compared to the average daily arrivals in the previous four weeks.

Chart 5: Arrivals into FIFA Men’s World Cup airports

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