As U.S. private jet travel fell by close to 30%, the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic had a big impact on business aviation in Europe
Italy private aviation flights dropped by 70% in March
Business aviation departures from Europe were down by 34% in March 2020 compared to the previous year, according to data supplied by WINGX.
The Germany-based business aviation research firm said there were 17,800 fewer flights flown last month. Like in the U.S., declines have accelerated towards the end of the month. During the final days of March, flying was down close to 50%.
We might see renewed demand for flights by the summer, at which point business aviation may have a window of opportunity to meet pent-up demand whilst the airline capacity is still parked.Richard Koe, Managing Director, WINGX
“The abruptness of the decline in business aviation activity this month is only comparable to the effect of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption back in 2010, only with much longer and more severe consequences,” said WINGX managing director Richard Koe.
He said, “WINGX expects a trough in flight activity in April, which may see some countries completely shut down flights. With an optimistic outlook for ending virus containment, we might see renewed demand for flights by the summer, at which point business aviation may have a window of opportunity to meet pent-up demand whilst the airline capacity is still parked.”
Private Jet flights in Italy drop by 70%
Activity in Italy has been most affected, with just over 1,000 departures during the entire month, 70% below March 2019 activity. The country went into lockdown on March 9.
Activity in normally the busiest market France was down by 43%. Germany and Switzerland saw declines of over 30%. Flights in the U.K. fell by 23%. Flight in Sweden were up by 1.3%. The Scandinavian country was one of the last to implement stringent anti-Coronavirus separation orders.
Le Bourget, Nice and Geneva realized the largest declines in private flight activity last month. All had declines of at least 35%. Of the Europe’s busiest business aviation airports, Biggin Hill fared the best, down by only 1%. Flight activity out of Malaga was one of the few markets in the black.
All aircraft segments of private jet types saw big declines. Ultra-Long-Range private jets were most impacted, down by 40%. Super Light and Very Light Jet activity fell by around 25%. The King Air 200 was the busiest aircraft, but activity was still down by 19%.
Branded charter and flight departments cut back activity by 20% in Europe over the month, whilst private jet management companies registered a 50% fall in-flight activity. Ambulance traffic more than doubled.
WINGX confirmed figures released yesterday by Argus TRAQPak showing a nearly 30% drop in U.S. business aviation flights in March. Activity fell into a steep decline around mid-month, and on March 31, year-over-year flying was down 66% comparing a Tuesday to Sunday.