WingX records a mixed bag for European private jet travel in 2018

By Doug Gollan, January 14, 2019

Business aviation analytics company WingX reports flight activity continues to weaken, especially for jet charters


For the full year 2018, 13 of the 20 largest markets in Europe were up, although, of the biggest, only Germany and Spain got robust growth, according to a press release from WingX. Activity has clearly slowed in the second half in UK, France, Italy. The biggest declines, according to Wing-X came from Russia and Turkey.


In December Large Jet activity was sharply down falling by 6% year over year (YOY), with biggest declines in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden. Small and Midsize Jet traffic also declined to drop 3%. Large and Small Jets showed fully year trends of around 1.5% growth. Flight activity within Europe was flat in December, with a big gain in arrivals from North America and a drop-off in flights from Africa, CIS region, Middle East.


Overall, private jet flights from China to Europe were up by 11% in 2018. Charter activity comprised almost 60% of all flights in Dec, flat year-over-year with significant declines in business jet flights, notably for Cessna, Hawker and Dassault aircraft. The business jet types with most charter growth were Embraer Legacy and Citation Latitude.


Short sectors were up by 4% in December due to Piston activity. Very Light Jet segment activity declined 11% and was 9% down during 2018. The VLJ declines are focused on the Citation Mustang fleet. Super Midsize activity is surging along, up 16% in 2018, boosted by new Citation Latitude activity, which doubled charter sectors in December YOY. Embraer is the OEM with most activity growth in 2018, sectors increasing by 10% vs 2017.


Top airports saw a major decline in December, centered on Paris, Geneva, Nice, and Luton. Biggin Hill was an exception, with almost 20% growth, mainly in charter. Le Bourget, Biggin Hill, and Farnborough had the strongest growth during 2018.


Richard Koe, Managing Director of WINGX Advance, said, “Overall flight activity trends in December were flattered by a big increase in business piston traffic. Clearly, business jet demand slumped in France and especially Paris due to the widespread protests. Elsewhere, we’re seeing slackening activity in Italy, UK, Switzerland. There is still momentum in the aircraft segments with recent EIS such as Citation Latitude. The outlook for 2019 will depend significantly on the genuine demand for replacement and upgrade of older aircraft as new business jets now come off the production line in larger numbers.”

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