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Business jet activity dips slightly year on year
In week 22 of 2023, European business jet sectors grew three per cent compared to the previous week but were 14 per cent behind the same dates in 2022. In May, European business jet sectors fell 11 per cent.

In week 22 ending 4 June, global business jet sectors dropped two per cent compared to the previous week and fell three per cent below the same dates in 2022, according to WingX's weekly Global Market Tracker. Just under 500,000 business jet and turboprop sectors were flown during the month of May 2023, four per cent fewer than May last year but 14 per cent ahead of May 2019. Scheduled airline activity in May rebounded 10 per cent compared to May last year, but is still 13 per cent behind 2019. Focussing on the top five airlines, namely Southwest, American, Delta, Ryanair and United, sectors were 12 per cent ahead of May last year and seven per cent ahead of a pre-pandemic 2019.

In week 22 business jet sectors in North America fell three per cent compared to the previous week, on a par with the same dates in 2022. For the full month of May 2023, business jet sectors fell six per cent behind May 2022 but remained 18 per cent ahead of pre-pandemic 2019. Ninety two per cent of departures in the region were from the United States; these departures were down seven per cent compared to May last year but 16 per cent ahead of 2019. Mexico and Canada saw activity finish five per cent and two per cent ahead of May 2022 respectively. Focusing on the Caribbean, the business jet trend was six per cent below May last year, but still 20 per cent ahead of 2019.

The Challenger 300/350 was the most flown business jet type in North America in May, although departures were down four per cent compared to May 2022 but still 19 per cent ahead of 2019. The Embraer Phenom was the second busiest type, with sectors four per cent ahead of last year and 52 per cent ahead of 2019. Cessna Citation Excel XLS departures dropped 13 per cent compared to May 2022, although they stayed three per cent ahead of May 2019. Almost a third of regional business jet departures in May came from private flight departments, with sectors up five per cent compared to last year and 37 per cent ahead of 2019. Corporate flight departments saw activity drop 12 per cent compared to last year and were one per cent below 2019. Branded charter sectors have fallen compared to last year, with sectors down 20 per cent but still seven per cent ahead of May 2019.

In week 22 of 2023, European business jet sectors grew three per cent compared to the previous week but were 14 per cent behind the same dates in 2022. For the month of May, European business jet sectors fell 11 per cent compared to May last year, but were still seven per cent ahead of May 2019. France was the busiest market in May with almost 8,500 business jet departures, 13 per cent fewer than May 2022 but seven per cent ahead of 2019. Domestic flights made up 34 per cent of the French business jet market in May; sectors were 15 per cent below May 2022 and one per cent below May 2019.

Most top markets saw double digit declines compared to last year, namely the United Kingdom, Spain and Switzerland. In addition, business jet departures from Germany fell one per cent compared to May 2019. All of the top five busiest business jet airports in Europe in May saw departures fall behind May 2022, although all but London Luton saw activity ahead of May 2019. Milan Linate bucked the trend; its departures grew one per cent compared to May last year. London was the top departure city for business jets in May, with departures down 10 per cent compared to last year.

In week 22, business jet departures from Africa were on par with the previous week and 23 per cent ahead of 2022. Asia was down five per cent compared to last week, but eight per cent ahead of 2022 while South America was up four per cent compared to last week and 28 per cent ahead of 2022. The Middle East saw increases of 13 per cent compared to last week, placing it five per cent ahead of 2022. Outside of North America and Europe, business jet sectors ended May 2023 11 per cent ahead of last May, 75 per cent ahead of 2019. Brazil, the busiest market, saw triple digit growth compared to May four years ago and was six per cent ahead of last year. China saw 79 per cent growth compared to May 2022, although it is still 18 per cent below pre-pandemic May 2019. This contrasts with Australia and the United Arab Emirates, two markets to see declines compared to last year, with sectors down five per cent and two per cent retrospectively.

Richard Koe, WingX managing director, comments: “Back in May 2022, the post-lockdown surge started to wear off, hence the latest weeks in May 2023 have seen a narrow year-on-year deficit. There is still some growth compared to last year in private flight departments and in fractional programmes, whereas the branded charter market has deflated overall. The European market is relatively the weakest region with big drops compared to early summer 2022, especially in domestic travel.”

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