Private jet flights fell at six of Europe’s seven busiest airports

There were 54,481 business aviation departures in Europe last month, down by 0.8% year-over-year (YOY), with a 2.1% drop in business jet sectors. Trends for the last 12-months in business aviation are up by 1.4%, and 10% above 2016 trough but still 11% behind January 2008 peak, according to WINGX, an aviation research firm.

Consumer demand falls for the charter market

“The decline in this month´s flight activity reflects anecdotal feedback from the charter operator market that customer demand is down, which fits with the wider deterioration in the macroeconomic situation in Europe,” said Richard Koe, managing director of WINGX

Read: A mixed bag for European business aviation travel in 2018

There were mixed YOY trends in Europe´s busiest markets with France and the UK narrowly up, Spain showing robust growth, flights declining from Germany and Switzerland, and a 9% slump in demand out of Italy. In other markets, there was a big drop in activity out of Turkey, WINGX said.

London private jet departures fall 6% in January

The last 12-month trend looks strong out of Spain, still solid out of Germany, flat in UK, Switzerland and France. Busiest city in Europe in January was London with 3,598 departures, but these were down by 6% YOY.

Large Jet activity took the brunt of the decline in Europe this month with sectors down by 6% YOY. Small and Medium Jet activity was flat, whilst Piston and Turboprop activity increased YOY, largely due to an increase in Piston flights.

Flights within Europe declined by 1% this month. Next busiest regional flow was transatlantic, flat YOY, beating a negative 12-month trend of that showed a 1.5% loss. Private jet flights to Africa increased 5% over last year but declined for last month.

European heavy jet flights dropped 6% in 2018

The charter operator market grew slightly overall, but was flat for private jets. Private flight activity declined 2.5%, and is flat over last 12 months, during which time private mission activity on Heavy Jets has slumped by 6%.

January saw declines in most business jets segments, notably in Bizliners, Ultra Long Range, Heavy, Midsize, Light and Very Light. The main growth this month came from Super Light Jet, with activity up by greater than 10% YOY.

In the charter market, the busiest type was the Excel/XLS, with 6% YOY growth. The CJ1 saw over 20% growth, Falcon 7X sectors increased almost 30%, and Citation Latitude activity was up by more than 60% YOY. In private activity, G550 activity slumped by 21%

Luton, Geneva see double digits declines in private flights

There were YOY declines for six of the top seven airports in Europe, Farnborough Airport the exception with 6% YOY growth in departures. There was a more than 10% decline in activity out of London Luton and Geneva. Large Jet activity out of Luton fell 15%, and Small and Midsize flights from Geneva slumped by 20% YOY.

“(January’s) drop was concentrated in the large cabin segments which may reflect pull back from corporate flight departments. It´s interesting to note the resilience of flight activity to and from Spain (and) also the charter demand for older aircraft types such as CJ1 and Falcon 7X. The 6% decline in the London market accurately demonstrates growing uncertainty around Brexit,” Koe said.

About the Author Doug Gollan

I am Founder and Editor of Private Jet Card Comparisons, the only independent buyer's guide to jet card membership programs, and DG Amazing Experiences, a weekly luxury travel e-newsletter for private jet owners. I am also a contributor to Forbes.com