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Marsh Brothers Aviation
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Euro host cities experiencing tournament charter spike
The Euro 2020 Football Championships have been a catalyst for the European recovery, with the host cities seeing very strong growth compared to June 2019: arrivals into Baku this month are up by 80 per cent.

Global business aviation traffic has increased by six per cent in June 2021 compared to June 2019, effectively setting record levels of activity. This compares to the commercial airlines, which are still flying 40 per cent less than pre-pandemic levels. That trend has only modestly recovered on the year-to-date deficit of 45 per cent, while business aviation traffic is just three per cent off the comparable activity levels in the first half of 2019, and 41 per cent above the same period of 2020, according to data from WingX.

In the surging US market, business jet activity is now edging ahead of the first six-month volume in 2019. Meanwhile the cargo market is continuing to see gains, with flying five per cent up compared to June 2019 and six per cent ahead for the first half of 2021 versus 2019. Business aviation activity has surged back in Europe this month, with six per cent more flights in the last two weeks than in the same two weeks back in 2019. For example, business jet and prop departures from airports in Germany are up nine per cent compared to the same fortnight in June 2019. Switzerland has had similar recent growth, Spain's traffic has soared 18 per cent above June 2019, Portugal is 42 per cent ahead and Greece has an additional 55 per cent in business aviation traffic. Belgium and Netherlands both have almost 20 per cent more jet and prop flights this month than in June 2019. Business aviation activity still trails 2019 in France and Italy this month, but only by three per cent, whereas flight activity in the UK is still 23 per cent below 2019 levels, although double where it was last year.

The UEFA Euro 2020 Football Championships have clearly been a catalyst for the European recovery, with the host cities seeing very strong growth compared to June 2019: arrivals into Baku this month are up by 80 per cent, with inbound sectors from Turkey up by 174 per cent, 54 per cent growth in arrivals from Russia and even 24 per cent growth in flights from the UK; flights into Budapest are up 72 per cent this month; into Bucharest, June arrivals are up by 40 per cent, with almost 300 per cent growth in visitors from Italy; activity into St Petersburg is up 11 per cent this month, with a 50 per cent increase in arrivals from airports in Russia; arrivals into Munich is up one per cent on June 2019, with inbound visitors from France and Spain 30 per cent higher than normal; and Seville saw a 146 per cent boost in arrivals, with double the usual number of arrivals from the UK. The only location to see no effect was Glasgow, although its business aviation connections with Portugal are up 18 per cent this month.

The US business aviation market continues to break records, with flights in June up by 11 per cent compared to June 2019 and 54 per cent up on last year. For just business jets, the lead is even larger, with 20 per cent more sectors flown this month than in June two years ago. Year to date, at almost the halfway point of 2021, business jet activity is two per cent ahead of 2019. More than half the traffic is private flight activity, and that's still trailing 2019 levels. June's growth is coming from the charter and fractional operators, with these sectors more than 20 per cent above normal levels. Business jet flights within the US are up 23 per cent this month, and international connections are picking up, with flights to Mexico up 40 per cent, to Bahamas up 60 per cent, to Turks and Caicos more than doubled compared to June 2019. However, flights to Canada are still 70 per cent below normal, and transatlantic flights are still half of what they were.

Outside Europe and the US, business jet flights this month are trending at four per cent below where they were in June 2019, even if 85 per cent up on last year. This compares to a year-to-date deficit of 12 per cent compared to the first half of 2019. Canada and Mexico are the backmarkers, with their sectors still a third behind June 2019 levels. Morocco and Japan are two other countries with incomplete recoveries. Some countries have seen rebounds well above June 2019, notably Brazil, India, UAE, Nigeria and Indonesia. The busiest business jet across these markets this month is the Challenger 600 series, operating some 3,000 sectors, two per cent less than in June 2019. The Embraer Legacy platform is 60 per cent more active than in June 2019. Airports with well above normal flight activity this month include Los Cabos, Al Maktoum and Abuja.

WingX MD Richard Koe comments: “We have seen a significant milestone this month with business jet activity in the US, year-to-date surpassing comparable 2019 levels. The rate of the rebound is gathering pace in the US, and Europe may be picking up the same growth trend. The UEFA Euro host cities have seen big spikes in business jet arrivals, and the summer season has opened up for the first time in two years, with a surge of high-end tourists heading to the Mediterranean's most famous resorts.”

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