WINGX’s weekly Business Aviation Bulletin.
Business jet activity in the core North American and European markets has now aligned with 2022 trends as we lap the anniversary of the slowdown post-Covid. The Covid-peaks are now measurable against the late-2021 surge. Comparison with 2019 trends shows a solid 20% gain, with this year trending towards a 4% drop compared to last year.
Twenty-two days into October 2023, global business jet and turboprop activity is 1% ahead of comparable October last year, 2% below the highs of October 2021, 17% ahead of 2019. For just bizjets, the year-on-year trend was up 1%, year-to-date trend down 4%, but up 19% on comparable 2019. Scheduled airline sectors are 7% behind 2019 this month, 17% ahead of October 2022. Dedicated cargo operators’ activity so far this month is 6% down year-on-year, 5% behind 2019 levels.
Chart 1: Global fixed wing flights by sector, October 2023 (Note business aviation includes turboprops)
Bizjet activity in Europe is 1% ahead of October last year, 12% ahead of 2019, 15% behind the highs of October 2021. Aircraft management fleets are flying the most activity so far this month, 4% fewer flights than last October, 7% ahead of 2019. Fractional fleets are flying more than any October in the last 4 years. Corporate flight activity is down by 16% compared to last October, 19% declines compared to October 2019. Bizliner activity in the region has rebounded 4% compared to last year, although still 28% behind 2019. Entry level and Midsize jet activity lower than any October in the last 4 years.
Chart 2: Business jet activity operator types, Europe 2023 vs previous years
In Week 42, ending October 22nd, business jet activity originating in North America was down 2% compared to the previous week, 3% below the same dates last year. So far this month bizjet activity is slightly behind last year, still 21% ahead of 2019. Teterboro is the busiest departure airport in the region this month, activity is above any October in the last 4 years. Conversely, Westchester County and Palm Beach have 7% and 10% declines respectively, compared to last October.
Chart 3: North America business jet airport departures, October 2023 vs previous years.
During NBAA-BACE (17th – 19th October), Las Vegas airports (KLAS, KHND, KVGT, KLSV) saw 526 business jet arrivals, 3% fewer than back in 2019, 8% fewer than during the Covid-affected 2021 event. Despite the decrease in arrivals, there were 61 more active aircraft during this year’s show compared to 4 years ago. Elsewhere the US Grand Prix (20th – 22nd Oct) at the Circuit of the Americas attracted 344 bizjet arrivals at nearby airports (KAUS, KEDC, KHYI), down from 475 during last year’s Grand Prix, 15% ahead of the 2019 edition.
Chart 4: NBAA – BACE Las Vegas 2023, 2021, 2019
Business jet activity is up 12% in terms of sectors flown so far this month compared to last year. India and China are lifting demand. Top market India is 10% ahead of last year, busier than any other October in the last four years, China seeing a 192% spike in activity compared to last year when all flight activity was lockdown-constricted.
Bizjet activity in the Middle East continues to trend ahead of comparable October 2022, flight sectors 4% ahead year on year, 51% ahead of 2019. United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are busier than in any October in the last 4 years, Qatar seeing 191% growth compared to 2019. Bizjet departures out of Israel are 8% behind last October, although 38% ahead of 2019. Bizjet activity this month peaked on the 7th, falling every day since the 15th. Ad-hoc passenger charter flights out of Israel 45% ahead of October last year, 59% ahead of October 2019.
Chart 5: Ad-hoc flight activity in and from Israel in October 2023