Worldwide business aviation traffic dropped 11% for the first half of February with 14,000 flights fewer than 2020, according to the latest Global Market Tracker from WingX. Still, scheduled airline activity was 53% lower.
“The U.S. market continues to look pretty solid for business aviation demand in 2021, with Florida the hub, California and Texas still lagging. The Caribbean is also seeing some strong leisure traffic. Although Western Europe continues to relapse, big domestic markets in Russia and Turkey, Nigeria and Brazil all clearly have strong demand for business aviation aircraft,” says Richard Koe, managing director of WingX.
From region to region, North America dropped 10% below year-over-year, Asia was down 1%, flights in Africa fell by 8%, and in South America and Oceania gained.
Florida is driving the U.S. market forward with 10% more activity than last February. Other states with strong business growth include Colorado, Arizona, and South Carolina.
On the other end of the spectrum, private jet activity out of California and Texas was down double-digits. New York flights were down 5%, but New Jersey activity fell 41% in February.
The busiest inter-state connection is Florida and Georgia with an 18% increase in YOY flying.
The busiest airport pattern has not changed much in the last 12 months. West Palm Beach, Miami-Opa Locka, and Naples are breaking activity records. Scottsdale and Denver Centennial are all doing better than pre-pandemic. In contrast, Teterboro in New Jersey, Las Vegas McCarran, and Hobby Houston are well below normal.
In Europe, overlapping and unpredictable border restrictions are constraining recovery in flying. The U.K. is most affected, with 60% reductions in February activity, the lowest ebb since the pandemic’s height last year.
Luton, Farnborough, and Biggin Hill are the busiest three airports, but all with activity down two-thirds. Bournemouth is the only leading business aviation airport to have grown so far this month. The U.K charter market is down 62% in February, with only 247 flights departures to the rest of Europe.
According to WingX, declines have also been steep in France and Germany, with Switzerland’s inbound business jet flight down more than half. Notably, domestic business jet traffic in France and Italy is at normal levels.
Looking globally, China, Brazil, and Nigeria all saw gains. Meanwhile, there were still sizeable lags in business jet activity in Saudi Arabia, whereas flights in the U.A.E. are up this month, mainly with Russia, Turkey, Germany, and the Maldives.