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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.

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February is seeing steeper declines on jet trends
Business jet trends should calm down as the market normalises post pandemic according to WingX. The US market may be holding its own, but things don’t look so good in Europe.
Global fixed wing flights January 2023 compared to previous years (includes turboprops).

Worldwide business jet sectors in week five of 2023 (31 January through 5 February) amounted to 60,719 sectors, a five per cent drop compared to week four and a one per cent drop compared to the same dates in 2022. According to WingX's weekly Global Market Tracker, the global trend in the last four weeks is flat compared to last year. For commercial business jet traffic, including Part 135 and Part 91K, the week five trend was markedly negative, down 10 per cent compared to the same dates in 2022, with a last four-week negative seven per cent trend. The broader context for the month of January 2023 pointed to business jet and turboprop activity being up 14 per cent up on January three years ago. Comparably, airline activity in January was up 24 per cent on January last year, but still 12 per cent behind January 2019.

220,000 business jet sectors flew out of airports in North America during January 2023, on a par with January last year and 14 per cent above January 2019. Flight hours in January were down one per cent compared to January last year, although they were 17 per cent above January 2019. Palm Beach International, Dallas Love Field, Las Vegas McCarran and Miami Opa-Locka round out the top five busiest airports. With just over 300 flights, Palm Beach International-Teterboro was the busiest business jet airport pair in January. 88 per cent of business jet sectors in January were domestic flights, which is one per cent fewer sectors compared to January 2022. International business jet flights were up 10 per cent compared to January last year and 13 per cent above 2019.

47,343 business jet sectors have been flown in week five; five per cent down on week four and one per cent down on the same dates in 2022. Private flight departments are outpacing last year's and 2019's demand by 11 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. Fractional fleets are flying 15 per cent more than February last year and 33 per cent more than 2019. Corporate flight departments are flying one per cent more than in February 2022, although 10 per cent less than 2019. Branded charter activity continues to see declines, with sectors down nine per cent at the start of this month compared to the same period last year and just three per cent above 2019.

In the opening six days of February business jet activity in Europe is trailing last year by 12 per cent, although it is three per cent above 2019. Excluding Russia ́s activity, the region has started this month nine per cent below last year, but still five per cent above 2019.

Almost two thirds of business jet sectors in February have been under 90 minutes in length; flights of this duration are down nine per cent compared to last year, but two per cent more than 2019. Long haul and ultra-long flights are bucking the overall trend so far this month; flights between six-12 hours are up 18 per cent compared to last year and are 17 per cent more than 2019. Flights longer than 12 hours are up 14 per cent compared to last year and show triple digit growth compared to 2019.

The only two global regions with growth in business jet activity in week five versus week four were South America and Africa. Compared to the same dates in 2022, flights were also up in the Middle East and Asia, with the latter seeing a year-on-year rebound of over 40 per cent, mainly due to the opening-up in China. Year to date trends for all regions outside North America and Europe are close to 30 per cent up on where they were three years ago. Countries with the largest gains compared to pre-Covid are UAE, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.

WingX managing director Richard Koe says: “The next couple of months could be the first time since 2019 when year-on-year trends start to normalise, with the modest growth so far this year compared to 2022 largely flattered by the Omicron surge at the start of last year. The trends are not encouraging in Europe, where the charter market is now seeing double digit drops. The US market is still more or less holding its own, with geographical variability.”

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