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Figures show Europe bouncing back despite lag period
From a low point of 375 departures per day in early May, European activity had increased to 1,117 flights daily by 9 June. Le Bourget is the busiest hub in Europe but its flights are still 60 per cent down on last year.
Read this story in our June 2020 printed issue.

According to WingX's Global Market Tracker, business aviation activity is trending down 47 per cent since the start of May, with flights operated during the first nine days of June down ‘only’ 34 per cent. The market's recovery is still being led by North America, where flight activity trends are down 31 per cent in June so far. Europe is lagging, with flights down 50 per cent this month, while Asia and Africa are trending 35 per cent below normal in June. Aircraft management operators have seen the strongest recovery so far, with flights down 25 per cent this month. Branded charter activity is down 38 per cent in June, while fractional ownership activity lies at around 40 per cent below usual.

As tracked by trends in rolling seven-day average daily activity, the European market has seen the strongest recovery of any region in the last few weeks. From a low point of 375 departures per day in early May, trending activity had increased to 1,117 flights daily by 9 June. Germany has been the busiest market during this period, with jet and prop flights up to 57 per cent of last year's levels. Sweden and Norway are trending down around 25 per cent, with the next most resilient markets being Turkey and Russia. Normally the top market, France is down 60 per cent, while the worst affected markets in Europe are Spain, Italy and UK, down 70 per cent.

Despite seeing a severe lockdown since mid-March, the UK had seen some solid recovery as restrictions got softened in May, reflected in a doubling of daily flight activity since then. There was a surge in activity running up to the quarantine on 8 June, then two days of precipitous declines, with business aviation arrivals into the UK from outside the UK falling from over 100 flights on the 7th June to just over 30 flights into the UK on the 8th and 9th. Business aviation flight activity in the rest of Europe has continued to improve this week, with average daily activity by 9 June up 30 per cent on the end of May.

Stepping back, business aviation trends globally continue to see a shift towards lighter aircraft utilisation. Bizliner traffic is 80 per cent below normal for June so far, with ultra-long range and heavy jets flying 50 per cent below. Super mid, mid and super light jet flights are down around 35 per cent. Light jets have flown a third of all business jet sectors this month, activity trailing 27 per cent year on year. Very light and entry level activity is most resilient, down by just over 20 per cent, with turboprop activity slightly stagnating at 38 per cent below normal. The business jet type with relatively the least decline is the CJ3, with flights down only 9 per cent in June.

Le Bourget is still busiest this month in Europe, but activity has flagged by over 60 per cent compared to the same dates last year. Zurich and Geneva are next busiest and recovering faster. Farnborough and Biggin Hill are busiest UK airports.

Richard Koe, WingX's MD, comments: “It's encouraging to see the North American market continuing to come back, especially in Florida, and business aviation in Europe has accelerated its recovery in the last fortnight. It's a shame that the traditional high point in European business aviation demand will get blunted by quarantines through the rest of June, especially in the UK, but operators are reportedly seeing strong bookings for July by which point many more restrictions will be lifted. With commercial airline capacity severely cut back and the airline passenger experience complicated to say the least, business aviation could see a belated surge in July.”

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