Business aviation flights continue to fall in Europe

By Doug Gollan, June 6, 2019

Year-to-date business aviation activity is down by 1.7% after a 3% drop in May, according to WINGX

Private aviation analyst WINGX is reporting the headwinds are remaining strong in Europe with 77,189 business aviation departures in May, a second successive year-over-year (YOY) monthly decline of 3%. Year to date, European business aviation activity is now down by 1.7% with 5,500 fewer flights than in 2018. The trend over the past 12 months is flat, the company said.

“A second consecutive drop of 3% in YOY business aviation activity confirms an increasing slowdown in the European market in 2019, reflecting the somewhat downbeat sentiment at EBACE,” said Richard Koe, managing director of WINGX.

He added, “Symptomatically, whilst Nice and Cannes had their usual busy months in May, comparable YOY activity at these airports was down at least 10%.”

Koe cited, “The Brexit stranglehold on business activity in Europe, and especially UK, is showing up in the continuing stagnation of flight demand out of London. Small and midsize Jet activity is most affected, and particularly in owner flights, suggesting that discretionary trips have been put on hold.”

Owner business jet flights slumped 7% in May with business jet activity down 9%. Charter/AOC activity last month.

Small and midsize private jet activity suffered most in May with 5.3% fewer flights. In contrast, large cabin jet flights were up by 0.7% YOY. In France and UK, small and midsize cabin activity fell 10%. UK also had 5% fewer large cabin private jet flights, although these aircraft were up 9% from Spain.

Overall, declines in business aviation activity were biggest out of France, Germany, and UK, down 4.5%, with all three markets down at least 2% for the year. Flight activity was flat in Spain, up by 11% Norway. From Switzerland, flights were down 6% in May.

Business aviation flights within Europe were down 2.9% last month, but still trending up by 0.4% in the last 12 months. May flight departures to almost all global regions were down, notably to Africa dropping by 10%. Flights to South America were up 5% YOY.

After two months of heavy declines, Charter/AOC activity stabilized in May. But there were large declines in turboprop, midsize, entry and very light jet segments. The ultra long-range segment continued to see strong growth in Charter/AOC, up 9% YOY.

Farnborough was the only top 10 airport with growth in May, with largest drops in activity at Cannes and Nice, departures falling more than 10% YOY. Both Geneva and Rom Ciampino had declines of over 10% so far this year.

WINGX is a data research and consulting company providing actionable market intelligence to the business aviation industry.

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