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Business jet activity is down but transatlantic flights are up
The year has got off to a relatively slow start, but transatlantic flights and US domestic fractional flights are seeing very strong activity, not forgetting business jet traffic generated by the Las Vegas Super Bowl.

According to WingX's weekly Global Market Tracker, business jet activity in the US has fallen four per cent year to 4 February compared to last year. Combining business jets and turboprops, sectors are six per cent below last year. Florida has seen over 35,000 business jet departures making it the busiest US State, but activity is three per cent behind last year. New Jersey is the only US state in the busiest five to see activity ahead of last year. Tenth busiest ranked Tennessee is also seeing activity ahead of last year.

With just over 5,000 departures so far this year, Palm Beach is the busiest departure airport in Florida for business jets. Activity is trending five per cent below last year. Teterboro and Westchester County are the top two arrival airports from Palm Beach International, although flights between the two airport pairs are respectively four per cent and 18 per cent behind last year.

So far this year, corporate flight departments are flying the most business jet sectors in the US, but are 15 per cent down compared to last year. In contrast fractional fleets are flying five per cent more sectors compared to early 2023. For the busiest fleet operators in the US, namely NetJets, Flexjet, Vista Global and flyExclusive, business jet departures are trending ahead of last year. Business jet sectors for the Wheels Up fleet (post Airshare split) have fallen 35 per cent compared to January last year.

On the weekend of 10-11 February, business jet arrivals into Las Vegas airports were expected to surge due to the hosting of the Super Bowl at the Allegiant stadium on Sunday. In previous years, WingX has noted large surges in business jet traffic at all airports nearest Super Bowl host cities. For example, the Monday after the 2023 Super Bowl saw five times the number of business jet departures from nearby airports compared to the average for the month of February.

Year to 4 February, business jet activity in Europe has fallen three per cent below the levels of January and February last year. France is the top European business jet market this year, as usual, followed by the UK and Germany, but all three markets are less busy than last year. Spain and Italy are seeing an increase in their domestic business jet markets compared to last year.

Barcelona El Prat to Madrid-Barajas is the busiest domestic business jet airport pair in Spain so far this year, with flights up by 16 per cent this year versus last. Heavy jets are the most popular aircraft segment for this route. Elsewhere the busiest business jet airport pair in Europe so far is Paris Le Bourget-Geneva.

So far this year, through 4 February, there have been almost 1,000 transatlantic flights from the US to Europe, two per cent more than comparable last year. Just over 300 flights have been flown from US airports into the United Kingdom, up 26 per cent compared to last year, making it the top transatlantic country flow. Flights from the US into France are up 17 per cent, in contrast to Switzerland and Germany where flights are down five per cent and 24 per cent respectively. The Bombardier Global Express/6000 series is the busiest aircraft type on transatlantic flights so far this year. Gulfstream G600/650 sectors have fallen six per cent below comparable last year on trans-Atlantic routes.

Managing director Richard Koe comments: "The year has got off to a relatively slow start compared to the beginning of 2023, notwithstanding the market was still seeing unprecedented peaks in activity 12 months ago. And there are still parts of the market seeing very strong activity, such as transatlantic, also US domestic fractional flying. We expect business jet traffic generated by the Las Vegas Super Bowl to break records."

Other News
Global flights put new year slightly behind a comparable 2023
January 16, 2024
The last four-week trend shows a two per cent decline in global business jet activity but a lift in Europe according to WingX data.