Europe: Charter, Jet Cards Power 4.5% Private Aviation Growth in February

February private aviation flying in Europe hit 57,037 flights marking a 4.5% increase in year-over-year (YOY) activity.

By Doug Gollan, March 9, 2018

February private aviation flying in Europe hit 57,037 flights marking a 4.5% increase in year-over-year (YOY) activity


Business jet departures were up by 3%, with a decline in private flight missions, owners flying in their own private jets, offset by 5% gains in charter and Jet Card activity, according to WingX, a consulting firm. Western and Central Europe saw healthy growth in flight activity, although flat in the UK and modest in Italy. Germany had the strongest growth, mainly growth in turborop activity. Spain had the largest growth in private jet activity at +9%. 


Large jet activity was mixed this month, with 6% increase in flights from top market France, up 4% in Switzerland, but down 6% in Germany and minus 11% in Italy. Small jet flights were modestly up in the top 3 markets, and up by 17% YOY from Spain. AOC activity was the growth driver once again, with France and Germany seeing over 10% growth in these missions, with exceptional YOY growth in Belgium and Finland.


The UK charter market was down slightly. AOC market declined 12% in Czech Republic. Private activity was slightly up overall this month but wavered in France, Switzerland and Russia. Owner flights were well up in UK, with over 4,000 flights out of the London airports in February, this volume up by 2.5% YOY.


90% of flights from Europe stayed within the region, this volume up by 5% YOY. Flights inbound to Europe from other global regions were down, with arrivals from the Middle East down by 15%, and Transatlantic arrivals down by 5% YOY.


Within Europe, there were almost 300 flights on the busiest route between Le Bourget and Geneva, but whilst this volume was flat YOY, AOC traffic between airports including Farnborough, Nice, Le Bourget, Vnukovo and Zurich was up by around 20% YOY. Light Jets, mostly for Charter sectors, and Super Midsize, mostly Fractional, saw the largest pick-up in demand, mainly on short sectors. Owner flights on Midsize, Entry Level and VLJ flights was well down. SLJ Charter flights also declined.


Busiest Private Jet Airports In Europe


The busiest 10 airports all saw some increase in YOY activity this month, modest at Le Bourget, Vnukovo and Zurich, substantial at Farnborough, Geneva, Nice and Biggin Hill. AOC departures from Farnborough were up more than 30% YOY.


Richard Koe, Managing Director of WINGX Advance, comments, “Activity has softened in some countries, with the political climate probably showing through in UK and Italy. The main leisure markets still look strong, with Charter flights to and from Spain well up, and airport pairs connecting London, Paris and the South of France showing very strong growth. Short commercial sectors are seeing most growth, especially on Light Jets. Owner activity remains very subdued.”

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