According to WingX's weekly Global Market Tracker, global business aviation activity was down by 68 per cent for the period April 1st through May 5th. The key North American and European markets have declined by 69 per cent and 70 per cent respectively, compared to the same dates in 2019. Asia is doing slightly better at 67 per cent below normal, with flight activity out of South America 64 per cent down. Flights to, from and within the Oceania region have recovered to 48 per cent of normal activity.
The moving seven-day average activity has steadily improved on a global basis since mid-April, from a low point of 3,600 flights per day to 5,200 flights a day in May, a more than 40 per cent improvement. This recovery in business aviation activity is far more perceptible than in scheduled airlines. Whereas business aviation activity comprised about 15 per cent of scheduled sectors at the start of March, it now represents around 33 per cent. The North America region is contributing most to the recovery trend in business aviation sectors. Europe is still very flat.
After the United States and Canada, the third busiest country is Australia, where flight activity, mainly turboprop, is only 37 per cent below normal. Germany is the busiest European market, with flights down by 63 per cent, while both France and UK (where Biggin Hill is the busiest airport in London) are much slower, with activity down by 75 per cent. Business aviation flight activity in Sweden has declined only 29 per cent during the period. Apart from flights between United States and Canada, almost all business aviation activity is domestic.
By aircraft segment, there is a general distinction between the large cabin long-range jets and the lighter jets and turboprops, with the former category showing no sign of recovery from very low trends, whereas the smaller end of the market is showing some resilience. The very light jet segment has the strongest recovery trend. Within the turboprop segment, the Caravan, PC-12 and King Air 200 are flying most, at around 50 per cent normal levels.
Richard Koe comments: “Continued improvement in the seven-day moving average activity since mid-April is encouraging, even if activity trends are still running at least 60% below normal in May so far. It's also clear that the current momentum in traffic is being operated by the turboprop market, with some increment in light jet flying but with most of the large cabin fleet inactive. With Tromsø ranking as the third busiest airport for business aviation in Europe, this is clearly far from being a normal market.”