Activity dipping in the US, substantially falling in Middle East and Asia

December appears to be a blip in the steady trend of the last few months, with flight activity growth compared to 2019 diminishing substantially. In fact Europe is now clearly trending below 2019 levels. In the Middle East and Asia, the latest week has seen very large drops in bizjet demand. In the US, the key hub, Florida, saw bizjet flights fall 7% compared to December last year.

Global

In Week 50 (ending December 17th), global business jet activity, measured by sectors flown, trended 2% behind the same dates in 2022, 1% below the year-on-year over the last 4 weeks. Week 50 recovered a dip earlier in the month, with month-to-date trends 3% down on comparable December last year. December’s bizav trend is up 12% compared to 4 years ago, weaker than the 2023 year-to date trend which is up by 16%. Comparably, scheduled passenger airlines are flying 13% more than December last year, still 9% off December 2019, and cargo operatorsТ activity has stalled, sectors 8% behind December 2022, 2% ahead of comparable 2019.

Chart 1: Global fixed wing flights by sector, December 1st – 17th 2023. Note business aviation includes turboprops

North America

In Week 50, bizjet activity in North America grew 3% compared to Week 49, fell 1% behind the same dates in 2022. The 4-week trend is 2% behind the same dates last year. In the US, the busiest State is Florida, with 6,484 bizjet flights operated in week 50, a drop of 7% year-on-year. California and Texas are a couple of points less busy than December last year. Week 50 saw a continuation of recent trends in terms of very strong fractional demand in contrast to softer charter market. Cessna bizjets are the most active OEM fleet this month, also topping the list for flights flown. Bombardier and Embraer bizjets flying more sectors than any December in the last four years. Airbus and Boeing bizjets are seeing 66% and 11% declines in sectors compared to December 2019, highlighting the downturn in bizliner activity.

Chart 2: US Bizjet States, departures & flight hours, 1st Ц 17th December 2023 compared to 2022

Year-to-date bizjet activity in the United States is trending 5% below last year, still 17% ahead of four years ago. Seventeen days into December, bizjet activity has dropped 4% compared to last year, although 10% ahead of four years ago.

Europe

In Week 50 (ending December 17th), business jet activity in Europe grew 6% compared to the previous week, fell 7% behind the same dates in 2022. In the last four weeks the trend has trailed 2022 activity by 2%. Paris Le Bourget was the busiest bizjet airport in W50, although activity behind the same dates last year and 2019. London Luton the only airport in the top 5 to see activity ahead of the same dates last year, although 7% behind the same dates four years ago. Year-to-date, business jet activity in Europe has fallen 7% compared to last year, still 7% ahead of four years ago. The trend is milder month to-date, with 5% less activity than in December 2022, although 3% below December 2019.

Chart 3: Business jet activity by operator type, Europe, December 1st Ц 17th 2023 vs previous years.

Asia & Middle East

In Week 50, bizjet activity in Asia dropped 25% compared to the same dates in 2022, and is trending 13% below 2022 dates. Super Light and Entry level jets are the only aircraft segments to see growth compared to December last year. In the Middle East bizjet activity plummeted 37% compared to same dates in 2022. Cyprus is the only major market to buck the regional trend in the Middle East, sectors 12% ahead of last year. All major markets are ahead of December 2023.