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Business jet traffic resurgent as summer approaches
In week 17 business jet activity in Europe grew one per cent compared to week 16, but remains 11 per cent below the same dates in 2022. Year-to-date, France is the busiest business jet market in Europe.

Global business jet activity in week 17 fell one per cent compared to the previous week, 10 per cent below the same dates in 2022. In the last four weeks activity has fallen nine per cent below a comparable 2022. Year to date (1 January to 30 April), business jet and turboprop sectors have fallen three per cent behind the same period last year, despite 14 per cent gains over a comparable 2019. Year-to-date business jet activity is further behind; sectors are down five per cent compared to the first four months of 2022, although they are 16 per cent ahead of 2019. Year-to-date scheduled airline activity has grown 20% compared to last year, but still lags 14 per cent behind pre-pandemic 2019.

In week 17 2023 business jet activity in North America declined two per cent compared to week 16 and was 11 per cent behind the same dates in 2022, the same trend as for the last four weeks.

In the United States, Part 135 and 91K business jet sectors in week 17 fell two per cent compared to week 16, 12 per cent below the same dates in 2022. In week 17 branded charter and fractional business jet sectors fell 11 per cent compared to the same dates in 2022.

There were 820,000 departures from United States airports in the first four months of 2023, which is seven per cent less than 2022 but 17 per cent ahead of 2019. Activity this year in Mexico is still substantially down on pre-pandemic levels, with sectors down 30 per cent. Activity in Canada is 27 per cent ahead of 2019, edging five per cent out on last year.

So far this year the Bombardier Challenger 300/350 is the busiest aircraft type. There were 66,000 departures between 1st January and April 30th, two per cent fewer than 2022 but, 17 per cent more than 2019. The Embraer Phenom 300 and Cessna Citation Latitude are the only aircraft types in the top five to see activity ahead of last year, with sectors up three per cent and sox per cent retrospectively this year.

With 134,000 business jet sectors so far this year, Florida is the busiest US state despite departures being 11 per cent below last year. Texas is the second busiest US state this year, although with 50,000 fewer departures than Florida, activity is down six per cent compared to last year.

Year to date business jet departures from Teterboro airport are down two per cent compared to 2022 and two per cent down compared to 2019. Corporate flight departments are flying five per cent more flights compared to last year out of Teterboro, although this is still 17 per cent less than in 2019.

In week 17 business jet activity in Europe grew one per cent compared to week 16, but remains 11 per cent below the same dates in 2022. In the last four weeks the trend is eight per cent below the same dates in 2022. So far this year European business jet traffic is eight per cent behind a comparable 2022, but six per cent ahead of 2019.

Year-to-date France is the busiest business jet market in Europe this year; activity out of France is eight per cent below a comparable 2022, but now on-par with 2019. The United Kingdom and Germany complete the top three markets YTD, but both markets are down compared to last year. YTD activity in Germany slipping four per cent behind 2019.

Year-to-date, four out of the top five busiest business jet airports in Europe have seen activity drop behind last year's volumes. Zurich is the only top five airport to see growth compared to 2022, while London Luton is seeing three per cent declines compared to 2019.

In April European business jet activity fell eight per cent behind April 2022, although it remains seven per cent ahead of 2019. France, the busiest market, saw activity dip one per cent behind 2019, while activity in third-ranking Germany dropped three per cent compared to 2019. Spain was the only top market in April to see activity grow compared to last year, with departures up one per cent compared to 2022, 32 per cent ahead of 2019.

In week 17 activity in Africa was 34 per cent ahead of the same dates in 2022, while Asia was up one per cent, South America down four per cent and the Middle East down nine per cent.

Excluding North America and Europe, year-to-date business jet activity was 17 per cent ahead of last year and 73 per cent ahead of 2019. Brazil, the busiest ROW market so far this year, has seen activity grow 12 per cent compared to last year and triple digit growth compared to 2019. Elsewhere activity in the United Arab Emirates is up six per cent compared to 2022 and 97 per cent ahead of 2019. So far this year departures from China are up 45 per cent, although they are down six per cent compared to 2019.

The Bombardier Challenger 600 series is the busiest aircraft type YTD, with departures up 28 per cent compared to 2022 and up 59 per cent compared to 2019. The Embraer Legacy 600/650 platform is the only aircraft in the top 10 to see activity levels drop compared to last year, with departures down one per cent compared to 2022.

In Azerbaijan the Formula One Grand Prix last weekend (28th to 30th April) contributed to business jet arrivals into Heydar Aliyev International Airport (UBBB). During the Grand Prix weekend (April 28th to 30th) there were 33 business jet arrivals, more than double the previous Friday-Sunday period (April 21st -23rd). This year's Grand Prix attracted 10 per cent more business jet arrivals than the 2022 edition of the race and 83 per cent more than the 2019 edition.

Richard Koe, WingX managing director, comments: “Business jet demand has fallen well off last year's peaks, but at least appears to be stabilising at around 10% down compared to the spring of 2022. As growth trends started to taper last summer, we expect to see a narrower deficit in the next few months of 2023, barring further economic shocks, especially in the banking sector.”

In week 18, the first week of May 2023, global business jet sectors were up three per cent compared to the previous week but five per cent below the same dates in 2022. In the last four weeks activity has fallen six per cent below a comparable 2022.

Koe continues: “The year-on-year deficit appears to be narrowing as we come out of the spring, reflecting the fact that the first quarter of 2022 was a one-off and exceptional spike in demand for private jet travel. Fractional operators appear to have maintained the largest gains compared to pre-pandemic. The charter market continues to look soft compared to last year.”

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