Bizjet trends stabilising at 10% under last years record trends

WINGXs weekly Business Aviation Bulletin.  

Summary

Business jet demand has fallen well off last year’s peaks, but at least appears to be stabilising at around 10% down compared to the Spring of 2022. As growth trends started to taper last summer, we expect to see a narrower year-on-year deficit in the next few months of 2023, barring further economic shocks, especially in the banking sector.

Global

In Week 17 Global business jet activity fell 1% compared to the previous week, 10% below the same dates in 2022. In the last four weeks activity has fallen 9% below comparable 2022. Year to date (1st January – 30th April), business jet and turboprop sectors have fallen 3% behind the same period last year, despite 14% gains over comparable 2019. Year-to-date business jet activity is further behind, sectors are down 5% compared to the first 4 months of 2022, although 16% ahead of 2019. Year-to-date scheduled airline activity has grown 20% compared to last year, still lagging 14% behind pre-pandemic 2019.

Chart 1: Global fixed wing flights, January 1st April 30th 2023 compared to previous years. (Note business aviation includes turboprops)

North America

In Week 17 2023 business jet activity in North America declined 2% compared to Week 16, and was 11% behind the same dates in 2022, the same trend as for the last 4 weeks.

In the United States, Part135 & 91K bizjet sectors in Week 17 fell 2% compared to Week 16, 12% below the same dates in 2022. In Week 17 Branded Charter and Fractional bizjet sectors fell 11% compared to the same dates in 2022.

There were 820,000 departures from United States airports in the first four months of 2023, 7% fewer than 2022, although 17% ahead of 2019. Activity this year in Mexico is still substantially down on pre-pandemic levels, sectors down 30%. Activity in Canada is 27% ahead of 2019, edging 5% out on last year.

Chart 2: North America Business Jet markets, 1st January 30th April 2023 compared to previous years.

So far this year the Bombardier Challenger 300/350 is the busiest aircraft type. There were 66,000 departures between 1st January and April 30th, 2% fewer than 2022, 17% more than 2019. The Embraer Phenom 300 and Cessna Citation Latitude are the only aircraft types in the top 5 to see activity ahead of last year, sectors up 3% and 6% retrospectively this year.

With 134,000 business jet sectors so far this year, Florida is the busiest US State despite departures being 11% below last year. Texas is the second busiest US State this year, although 50,000 fewer departures than Florida, activity down 6% compared to last year.

Year to date business jet departures from Teterboro airport are down 2% compared to 2022, 2% down compared to 2019. Corporate flight departments are flying 5% more flights compared to last year out of Teterboro, although still 17% fewer than in 2019.

Europe

In Week 17 business jet activity in Europe grew 1% compared to Week 16, 11% below the same dates in 2022. In the last four weeks the trend is 8% below the same dates in 2022. So far this year European business jet traffic is 8% behind comparable 2022, 6% ahead of 2019.

Year-to-date France is the busiest bizjet market in Europe this year, activity out of France is 8% below comparable 2022, now on-par with 2019. The United Kingdom and Germany complete the top 3 markets YTD, both markets are down compared to last year. YTD activity in Germany slipping 4% behind 2019.

Chart 3: Top European Business Jet Markets, January 1st April 30th 2023 compared to previous years.

Year-to-date, 4 out of the top 5 busiest bizjet airports in Europe have seen activity drop behind last years volumes. Zurich is the only top 5 airport to see growth compared to 2022, London Luton seeing 3% declines compared to 2019.

In April European bizjet activity fell 8% behind April 2022, although 7% ahead of 2019. France, the busiest market, saw activity dip 1% behind 2019, activity in 3rd ranked Germany dropped 3% compared to 2019. Spain was the only top market in April to see activity grow compared to last year, departures up 1% compared to 2022, 32% ahead of 2019.

Rest of World

In Week 17 activity in Africa was 34% ahead of the same dates in 2022, Asia up 1%, South America down 4%, Middle East down 9%.

Excluding North America and Europe, year-to-date business jet activity was 17% ahead of last year, 73% ahead of 2019. Brazil, the busiest ROW market so far this year has seen activity grow 12% compared to last year, triple digit growth compared to 2019. Elsewhere activity in the United Arab Emirates is up 6% compared to 2022, 97% ahead of 2019. So far this year departures from China are up 45%, although down 6% compared to 2019.

The Bombardier Challenger 600 series is the busiest aircraft type YTD, departures up 28% compared to 2022, up 59% compared to 2019. The Embraer legacy 600/650 platform is the only aircraft in the top 10 to see activity levels drop compared to last year, departures down 1% compared to 2022.

In Azerbaijan the Formula One Grand Prix last weekend (28th 30th April) contributed to business jet arrivals into Heydar Aliyev International Airport (UBBB). During the Grand Prix weekend (April 28th 30th) there were 33 business jet arrivals, more than double the previous Friday-Sunday period (April 21st -23rd). This years Grand Prix attracted 10% more bizjet arrivals than the 2022 edition of the race, 83% more than the 2019 edition.

Chart 4: Azerbaijan 2023 Grand Prix.

Chart 5: Top Rest of World airports, bizjets, 1st January 30th April 2023 vs previous years.