According to WingX's weekly Global Market Tracker, global business activity in June trailed the comparable 2019 period by some 30 per cent, but remains more resilient than global scheduled flight activity, which is down by almost 50 per cent so far this year. During June, business aviation activity has continued to recover, ending the month with 28 per cent fewer flights than in June 2019. The North American market has had the largest rebound since the global slump in April, but recovery trends in the US have slowed this month as lockdown-lifts have slowed across a number of US states.
In Europe the recovery rate in the second half of June has been stronger than in any other region, although the full month activity trend still looks to be 40 per cent behind last year. Flight activity in the UK and Spain is still way behind the norm at 60 per cent under par for June. Business aviation flights in Italy are back to half-normal, and France is back at the top of the ranking as the busiest European market, with flights down by 40 per cent. Switzerland is back to 70 per cent of usual activity, while the Scandinavian countries are only down a quarter. The best performer is Germany, with flight activity down by only 18 per cent year on year this month.
Normally the busiest business aviation airports in Europe and the US, Le Bourget and Teterboro, continue to struggle for recovery at 60 per cent below normal activity for June. In stark contrast, this month's busiest airport, West Palm Beach, has seen over 2,600 departures this month, which marks an increase of over 45 per cent YOY. In between, there continues to be a fairly robust recovery in activity at airports like Cannes, Biggin Hill and Zurich, all down around a third, while in the US, Van Nuys is trailing by 20 per cent, Centennial airport in Denver is down only 10 per cent and flight departures from Salt Lake City airport are flat YOY.
Regions outside North America and Europe account for less than 10 per cent of business aviation departures this month. Of these regions, Oceania activity has re-stabilised at around 90 per cent of normal, Asia regional activity is stuck at 30 per cent below, Africa is improving to 38 per cent under par, and business aviation activity in South America is yet to be significantly eroded, at 87 per cent of June 2019 activity. Some highlights within these regions include China, where recovery trends have dropped off in second half of June due to virus outbreaks in Beijing; UAE and Saudi Arabia, both of which have seen only very shallow recoveries; and Turkey, with a country-wide decline of 20 per cent in flights, but YOY growth from Ataturk.
Globally, the strength in recovery in activity continues to be inversely related to cabin size; ultra-long range business jets are flying 50 per cent less, heavy jets are down 43 per cent, midsize have declined by 33 per cent, super-midsize by 28 per cent, light jets by 22 per cent and very light jets by 19 per cent. Turboprop flight recovery was robust in May and early June but has now tailed off, trending down by 28 per cent in June YOY. These trends across segments are reflected in preferences by aircraft type, with CJ3, Mustang and Nextant flying at more than 80 per cent normal levels, the Phenom 300 recovering 73 per cent of usual activity, ditto the best-performing midsize jet, the Challenger 300, whereas Challenger 600 activity is 40 per cent under par this month.
Richard Koe, WingX managing director, comments: “The recovery in flight activity has hit a fragile period where lockdown-lifts are getting stuttered due to secondary localised virus outbreaks. But overall, June's 30 per cent YOY decline was a clear improvement on May's 50 per cent slump. Assuming that the opening up of economies can be resumed, we would expect stronger recovery in July, driven primarily by leisure travel in small and midsize jets. So far, much of the recovery has come from aircraft owners, but we would expect the mid-summer to see a much stronger comeback in the charter market.“