While business aviation numbers in the U.S. showed a 5.3% increase, WINGX`s monthly Business Aviation Monitor shows 63,587 business aviation departures in Europe in April 2017, a 1% in activity from 2016. Private jet activity was flat while Piston flights were up, and Turboprop down. Combined flight hours were up by 4% compared to 2016 and year-to-date for 2017 business aviation activity is still up by 4%.
This month´s 2017 trend was impacted by the later timing of the Easter break, which slowed activity in the latter half of April, particularly in Central, Western and Northern Europe. Conversely, the later Easter boosted activity in Southern Europe.
Germany took the brunt of the declining activity this month, with business aviation flights down by 11%. The biggest drop came in business jets departures, dropping 17%. Germany domestic and Germany to UK flights declined by most.
Flight activity from France continued to increase, sustaining a YTD trend of 4%. UK activity was slightly down, and Italy maintained YTD decline. In contrast, flight activity in Spain jumped more than 20%. Flights from Switzerland and Russia were slightly up.
While overall activity within Europe declined in April, there was strong growth in flight arrivals from Africa and Asia. Arrivals from Middle East and CIS region were moderately up. Transatlantic arrivals slumped 12% YOY and are trending down this year.
Contrasting trends this month between Private and AOC flights, with Private flights declining 5%, maintaining a slowing trend over the last 12 months, whereas AOC flights were up 4% and have increased in each of the last 6 months.
AOC activity was well up in several countries, more than 10% in Italy, 15% in France, and more than 20% in Spain and Greece, almost 40% in Portugal. Conversely, Private flights declined in all top 5 markets, and by around 10% in Germany, Italy, Belgium.
Most aircraft segments saw some decline this month, mainly in ELJ and MSJ, but also in ULR jets for the first time since 2015, although only due to fewer Private flights. Strong growth in VLJ activity continues, mainly in Private flights.
Business aviation activity up for most of the busiest airports, Geneva flat, and the top Germany airports all declining, notably Munich and Schoenefeld. There was strong growth, especially in AOC business jet activity, from Nice, Biggin Hill and Mallorca.
Richard Koe, Managing Director of WINGX Advance, commented:
“Clearly the slowdown this month was due to the later timing of Easter this year, which shows that business aviation is about ´business´ in Northern Europe, whereas the Easter vacation period saw an increase in leisure flights to Southern Europe. A number of city pairs are well up YTD, including those which have regular airline connections, which underlines the attractiveness of convenience and comfort even where business aviation is more expensive than flying commercial. Hybrid business aviation shuttles seem to be supporting this trend.”