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MEBAA (Middle East & North Africa Business Aviation Association)
MEBAA (Middle East & North Africa Business Aviation Association)
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Colibri and WingX chew the fat on business aviation recovery
Of the top 10 European markets, Russia, Turkey, Switzerland and Germany lead the way in terms of robustness. In August, Russia saw a 25.6 per cent increase in business departures compared to last year.

Analysis of industry data by Colibri Aircraft, a private jet broker specialising in the marketing, resale and purchase of pre-owned private aircraft, aided by business aviation data company WingX, reveals there were 68,525 business aviation flights in Europe in August, which despite the COVID-19 crisis, was 2.8 per cent higher than the same month last year.

For the period 1 September to 15 October, there were 85,520 business aviation flights, which was only 10.3 per cent lower than the same period in 2019. When compared to a fall in commercial airline traffic of over 50 per cent, it shows the relative strength of the business aviation sector and highlights how it is a rare bright spot in an otherwise gloomy aviation industry.

Colibri believes the current robustness of the business aviation sector in Europe is down to a number of factors including the commercial aviation sector offering fewer flights and routes, a reluctance from many people to fly with other passengers, and governments announcing new quarantine rules for those visiting certain countries, which resulted in thousands of people rushing home to beat these new restrictions.

Of the top 10 largest European markets for business aviation, Russia, Turkey, Switzerland and Germany are leading the way in terms of robustness. In August, Russia saw a 25.6 per cent increase in business aircraft departures when compared to the same month last year, and the corresponding figures for Turkey, Switzerland and Germany are 16.8 per cent, 14.1 per cent and 13.1 per cent respectively.

For the period 1 September to 15 October 2020, Austria, Turkey, Greece and Russia all saw an increase in their number of business aviation departures when compared to the same period last year.

WingX MD Richard Koe says: “Business aviation demand has been considerably more resilient than commercial airline activity throughout the pandemic, with a really strong rebound in last summer as travel restrictions got lifted. That recovery has relapsed this autumn as leisure demand has tailed off and the business traveller has stayed at home but the latter could pick-up as economies recover. The advantages of flying private, notably hygiene-control and convenience, should continue to draw some customers from the airlines.”

Oliver Stone, MD of Colibri, adds: “It is encouraging to see a level of robustness in Europe's business aviation market. Although we expect to see significant peaks and troughs in the number of flights over the next few weeks and months, the sector is in a stronger position than commercial aviation to mount a sustainable recovery.

“COVID-19 has also resulted in an increase in enquiries from potential first-time buyers of business aircraft as the crisis has helped raise the profile and benefits of flying privately amongst those who can afford to do this. For many business owners and executives, travel is a necessary component to keep their business running. The use of private aviation is now often the only way to continue to travel and keep their companies operational.”

Business aviation in Europe employs around 335,750 people directly and indirectly, and the value of its economic output is around 71 billion euros a year, so the relative strength of the business aviation sector has been an important driver of job retention in an otherwise difficult time for the aviation industry as a whole.

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