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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
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Early Easter subdues European charter trend
There is always less flying during Easter holidays and as that came earlier this year, trends are suppressed compared to 2022 and 2019. But all is not well with the economy and some are wary of spending on flights.
North American bizjet flights by operator, 1-10 April, 2023 compared to previous years.

According to WingX's weekly Global Market Tracker global business jet sectors in Week 14, 3-9 April, amounted to 65,681 sectors, five per cent fewer than the previous week and 16 per cent fewer than the same week last year. European business jet activity this month is actually below 2019 levels, but this is largely due to an earlier Easter holiday this year. In the last four weeks the global trend for business jet activity has been at 10 per cent below the same dates in 2022. In the last four weeks worldwide charter and fractional activity is trending 15 per cent behind the same dates in 2022, but still up 24 per cent versus a comparable 2019. Scheduled airline activity continues to recover but still trends 16 per cent below April 2019.

In Week 14, North American business jet sectors amounted to 51,772 sectors, which is five per cent fewer than Week 13 and 18 per cent fewer than the same dates in 2022. In the last four weeks the trend has been 12 per cent below the same dates in 2022. Part 135 and 91K sectors were one per cent above Week 13 but 18 per cent below the same dates in 2022. 91 per cent of all business jet departures in the region are from the US; US sectors are 15 per cent below last year and 13 per cent ahead of 2019.

Teterboro is the busiest business jet airport in North America through the first 10 days of April, but with activity 13 per cent below last April and still seven per cent below April 2019. Private flight departments are flying 18 per cent more out of Teterboro than they were in 2019 but have come down to four per cent more compared to April last year. Corporate flight departments are flying 36 per cent fewer flights than in April 2019, and 29 per cent fewer than 2022 out of Teterboro.

Demand across the top business jet operators in North America this month is mixed. NetJets are flying two per cent fewer sectors than April 2022 but 30 per cent more than April 2019. Flexjet and Jet Edge are seeing triple digit growth compared to April 2019, while Wheels Up Private Jets is flying five per cent fewer flights than 2019. Year to date (1 January-10 April), Net Jets is flying five per cent more sectors than comparable 2022 and FlexJet 11 per cent more than 2022.

In Week 14 there were 8,880 business jet departures from Europe, which is eight per cent fewer than Week 13 and 15 per cent fewer than the same dates in 2022. In the last four weeks the trend has been seven per cent below the same dates in 2022. The downwards trend has clearly been exaggerated by the much earlier Easter holidays this year compared to 2019 and 2022.

In the first seven days of April, European business jet departures were down four per cent compared to last year but four per cent ahead of 2019. France was the top market, with sectors down five per cent compared to the same dates in 2022 and three per cent ahead of 2019. The UK and Germany complete the top three markets, but both saw declines compared to last year. Departures from Le Bourget are 10 per cent below comparable 2022 and 12 per cent ahead of 2019, while Nice was the only airport in the top five to see business jet departures above last year.

Business jet departures in Africa were nine per cent below the equivalent week in 2022, while in Asia they were up 19 per cent. Similarly South America was down three per cent, while the Middle East grew five per cent. Excluding North America and Europe, business jet activity in the rest of world region is eight per cent ahead of the same dates in April 2022 and 52 per cent ahead of 2019. Brazil, the top market this month, has seen activity drop four per cent compared to last year, although it remains 94 per cent ahead of 2019. Australia is also down compared to last year, while India is on a par.

China is seeing triple digit growth compared to April last year, reflecting the release of lockdown measures during Q1 2023. The recovery is still coming through; April 2023 business jet activity is still 13 per cent down on a comparable April 2019. Ultra-long range jets remain the busiest aircraft segment in China this month, with triple digit growth in sectors flown compared to last year, although this is still 30 per cent fewer than 2019. Beijing Capital is the busiest business jet departure airport this month.

WingX managing director Richard Koe says: “There is always significantly less flying during the Easter holidays and as that came earlier this year, the trends are suppressed compared to 2022 and 2019. That said, the deficits compared to 2022 are widening as we move into Q2 2023. This reflects a weakening economic environment and sensitivity to the cost of flying private."

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