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Business Air News
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.
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Data reveals steady recovery for private aviation
Private aviation has seen a recovery in most regions compared to September 2019. The UAE has seen the biggest increase in activity with a 70% rise compared to two years previously.

WingX has reported that global business jet activity in September was up compared to September 2019, with a gain of 9% more flights over the most recent comparable week and up 14% for the whole month. North American activity was up by 6% in September compared to two years ago, while the US domestic market was up by 5% on September 2019 and 50% up on September 2020. Europe finished the month up 27%.

Scheduled passenger airline traffic is trending 30% below September 2019, which is a slight improvement on the 40% year to date deficit, which is 20% up on last year. Cargo operations are operating above pre-pandemic levels, although there has been a reported recent slow down.

Global business jet utilisation is on track to post a record year, with the strong summer taking the full year trend 2% above 2019. Turboprop activity has been weaker, however it is still within 1% of where it was pre-pandemic. The business aviation market in North America has been strong throughout September in Part 135 and 91K operations, with the latter seeing a 25% increase compared to September 2019. The US market as a whole has seen a slight recovery in both individual and corporate flight departments where flights were up 1%. Shuttle operations are still reporting to be down 6% when compared to pre-pandemic levels. Aircraft with Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce engines were flying 4% more, however aircraft with Williams engines are flying 15% above its normal level.

The busiest business jet in the US, the Citation Excel, has seen flights increase 14% above September 2019 levels. The biggest rebounds have been for the Phenom 300 and the Citation Latitude, with over 20,000 sectors flown in September and trending up 50% compared to two years previous.

The larger cabin sector has found things rockier with the Gulfstream GV/500-550 trailing pre-pandemic levels by 5%. The Bombardier Global 6000/6500 is flying 4% less, while the Falcon 7X has seen the biggest hit with flight hours 31% below the normal level. However things are looking more positive for the Gulfstream 600/650 as it has seen a 5% increase in September, while the Global 5000/5500 range has seen an increase of 30% compared to September 2019.

The European market is continuing to post strong levels of business aviation beyond summer, while leveraging the reopening of lifestyle events such as Art Basel and the Monaco Yacht Show. Throughout the European Union flight activity has soared 24% above levels in September 2019, with the biggest rise being in international flights.

Outside of Europe and the United States has seen modest recoveries and enduring declines. Both Canada and Mexico have seen weak recoveries, while China has seen a significant decrease over the last two months with a 6% drop on 2020. Australia is reporting in the top five markets with activity above 2019 levels, despite ongoing lockdowns in the country. The fastest growing markets are Brazil, Columbia, UAE, India and South Africa. The UAE has seen a 70% increase in activity when compared to 2019. Ultra long range departures from the UAE are up 24% this year, with heavy jet sectors up over 150%.

Richard Koe, WingX managing director, comments: “The recovery in flight activity is entering an uncertain phase as the global backdrop for business aviation gets more complicated. The pace of the economic recovery is slowing, with inflationary risks increasing as post-pandemic supply line disruption becomes more apparent. Ongoing virus concerns are keeping a lid on international travel, although the softening restrictions in Europe have prompted a big rebound, particularly around reopened calendar events.”

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