Halfway through the month of November 2021, 151,000 flight sectors have been operated by business jets globally, up by 60 per cent on November 2020 and up 16 per cent on November 2019. Business jet sector lengths averaged 537 nautical miles, up by 6 per cent compared to November 2019. There have been 15,200 business jets active this month globally, of which 11,500 have been active in the United States. In contrast to business jet activity, commercial passenger traffic is down 32 per cent this month compared to November 2019, though up by 47 per cent year on year. Year to date, business jet sectors are up four per cent and airline sectors are down by 39 per cent compared to two years ago.
WingX reports that transatlantic traffic in business jet activity has rebounded in November since the loosening of COVID restrictions on inbound arrivals to the US. Down by 27 per cent for the year-to-date, when compared to 2019, arrivals into the US from Europe this month are 161 per cent higher than in November 2020 and a record-breaking 11 per cent higher than in November 2019. Scheduled passenger services are slower to respond, being still 35 per cent lower than the comparable November 2019, even if the month so far shows an 80 per cent snap-back on last year's traffic. Fractional fleets got the biggest jump, with transatlantic sectors up by 55 per cent compared to November 2019.
US operators are looking ahead to very strong demand for the Thanksgiving Holidays starting on 25th November. Back in 2019 the 28th November to December 1st period saw 23,675 business jet sectors operated, with the much-subdued 2020 holidays seeing a 16 per cent dip in that activity. On current trends, this year's holiday will put fleet capacity under extreme pressure with as much as 20% increased demand, which is likely to fall heaviest on card and fractional programmes. The footprint is likely to resemble pre-pandemic patterns, with Thanksgiving 2019 highlighting East and West Coast connections. Back then, there were at least 50 business jet connections during the four-day holiday between Teterboro and West Palm Beach, Dallas and Los Angeles, Teterboro and Boston, and San Antonio and Monterrey. The busiest jets were Challenger 300/350, Citation XLS and Phenom 300 types.
European business jet demand continues to break records, with the first half of November 2021 surging 28 per cent above November 2019. Midsize jet, very light jet and super light jet flights are trending over 40 per cent above normal. Having spent most of the year at the back of the recovery trend, the UK has had more flights so far in November than any other country in Europe and 26 per cent more than in comparable November 2019. Farnborough was the third busiest airport in Europe while Biggin Hill is ranked ninth, with an almost 50 per cent increase on a comparable November 2019. Germany's domestic market is the busiest, although 13 per cent below two years ago. UK-France is the busiest international connection, with 300 aircraft flying 32 per cent more sectors than two years ago.
Regions outside United States and Europe originated 18,027 business jet departures in the first half of November 2021, a decrease of two per cent compared to the start of November 2019 but up 39 per cent compared to last year. The Chinese business jet market is in the spotlight this week following NetJets' investment in Shenzen-based Amber Aviation. China's market has hit a significant slowdown this month, with 44 per cent fewer sectors flown than in November 2019. Year-to-date, business jet sectors originating in China are up by 16 per cent compared to 2019, although flight hours are trailing by 19 per cent. This compares favourably to Hong Kong, where business jet departures are down by 55 per cent compared to two years ago and even 40 per cent less than in November 2020.
WingX MD Richard Koe comments: “Business jet operators will be preparing for the Thanksgiving Holiday demand with some trepidation, with ongoing demand for flights still breaking all-time records. Growth is even stronger in Europe, although there is relatively more slack capacity in the fleet than in the US. Transatlantic sectors have also burgeoned. Other regions have seen a relapse, notably in China.”