Bad news led the good news last month for business aviation, according to WingX

The good news was June was the busiest month of the year for business aviation in Europe with 87,236 private flight departures. The bad news was the numbers were still down by 1.7% year-over-year, according to consultancy WingX.

Richard Koe, WingX managing director, said, “All but one month this year so far have seen declines in flight activity compared to last year, with the first half of 2019 some 2% down on 2018. “

He added, “Clearly this reflects the gloomier macroeconomic picture, with Germany´s economic slowdown and the UK´s Brexit chaos reflected in significant declines in flight activity from both countries.”

Last month´s decline was most severe in turboprop activity with flights down 6% to 9% for charter operators. Business jet flights declined 2%. Charters were flat but owner flights slipped, so says the Germany-based bizav consultancy and track service.

France was a bright spot for private jet travel

Another bright spot was top market France with departures gaining 4% YOY. Flights out of the UK fell 6% and slumped 11% from Germany. Flights from Spain were up 9% YOY. So far in 2019, France activity is minus 1%, UK, with Germany and Switzerland declining between 3% and 5%.

Large cabin flights bucked the trend and were up by 3.4%, with small and midsize cabin jets activity down 3.9%. The contrast was most marked in UK flights, Large Jet departures were up 3% with small and midsize aircraft down 11%. Large Jet departures from Germany are down 12% YOY in June.

For charter operators, WingX notes activity fell sharply in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, but gained 5-10% in Spain, Netherlands, Greece. Private flights were up in Belgium, Spain, but down in Germany, Russia. Overall, the charter market fell 2%, continuing its stagnation, which started in the third quarter of 2018.

Although business aviation traffic was down 2% within Europe in June, flights to North America were up 5%, and to Latin America, rocketed by 23% YOY. For the past year, flights with Africa were up by 3%.

Busiest European airport Paris – Le Bourget saw a 2% decline in June, however,  Geneva slumped by 10%. Europe’s top eight private jet airports were all down for the first six months of 2019.

Looking ahead, Koe added, “Much of the charter market is up for grabs in the next two months, and suppliers will be hoping that some early summer growth in hotspots like Mykonos, Ibiza, and Nice are signs of that demand staying robust through the third quarter of the year.”

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