Week 6-24 sees solid US market, only 2% down from 2023 peaks

Business jet activity was stronger this week than last, picked up 4%, with particularly big increase in the UK, flights up 26%; this may indicate the peak ski season around school break. Business jet activity in South America is hitting peak levels. In Turkey, activity is a lot lower than the high demand last year, during the earthquake. The Middle East is seeing substantially lower demand year on year. The overall market is only modestly behind 2023, due to the stability in the US market, where Texas and Florida still have strong demand.

Global

For week 6, through 11th February 2024, global business jet activity was down 2% compared to the week 6, 2023. There were 66,974 business jet sectors operated in the last week, up 4% compared to week 5 2024. So far this year (1st January – 11th February), global business jet is trending 3% below last year, up 41% compared to 2019*. During the same period, scheduled airline sectors are trending 6% up on last year, 13% up on 2019.

Chart 1: 1st January Ц 11th February activity by sector, compared to previous years.(Business aviation includes business jets & turboprops)†

*WINGX added new sources for flight data in Feb-24, backdated to Jan-23, which has modestly inflated trends vs 2019.

United States

Week 6 bizjet demand in the US bumped up from Week 5 by 2%, down slightly, by 920 flights, compared to Week 6 2023. The weekly YOY trend is stronger than the last 4-week trend which is down 4%. Five of the top 20 busiest cities in the US saw some increase YOY, notably Houston, flights up by 9.5%, trending up by 28% compared to same week in 2019. Of the cities with declining year on year activity, Los Angeles saw a sizeable drop, departures down by 9%. Flights out of Miami are trending up by 67% compared to 2019.

Chart 2: Busiest cities for business jet departures, 1st January Ц 11th February 2024, compared to previous years.

Teterboro-Palm Beach is the busiest bizjet airport pair this year, flights are 1% behind last year, 35% ahead of 5 years ago.NetJets is the busiest operator on the route, accounting for 128 of the 418 bizjet flights. Several airport pairs are seeing flight activity >100% growth compared to 2019. 167 bizjet flights between KPPI Ц KOPF, 114% growth vs 2019. Elsewhere flights between KSDL Ц KSNA and KPBI Ц MYNN are 3% and 4% behind last year respectively, although 101% and 117% growth vs 5 years ago respectively.

Focussing on the turboprop market, US turboprop sectors have fallen 8% compared to last year, although 20% ahead of 2019. Los Angeles is the busiest departure city for turboprops, over 500 more departures compared to second ranked Pheonix. Bucking the region decline is Corpus Christi, the metro area airports seeing 29% more turboprop departures compared to last year. Overall, the Pilatus PC-12 is the busiest turboprop type year-to-date, flying just under 32,000 sectors so far. However, all King Air variants combined have flown over 42,00 sectors.

Chart 3: Top US turboprop aircraft types 1st January 2024 Ц 11th February 2024.

Europe

Year-to-date, European business jet activity has fallen 3% compared to last year, still 4% above pre-pandemic 2019. The Cessna Citation Excel / XLS is the busiest bizjet type in Europe this year, sectors are 6% behind last year and even 6% behind 2019. Pilatus PC-24 sectors continue to reach new heights, likewise Embraer’s Phenom 300 is busier than any of the last 5 years.Sweden is the busiest country for PC-24 departures, followed by Switzerland, the typeТs origin manufacturing base.PC-24 Departures in Sweden are almost exclusively for domestic air ambulance operations.

Chart 4: Europe business jet aircraft types, 1st January Ц 11th February 2024 vs previous years.

The ski season is seeing its annual peak in bizjet visitors to airports nearby the top alpine resorts. For example, Geneva has seen 1,568 bizjet arrivals in the last 5 weeks, and similarly to Chambery, is trending down by 5% compared to early 2023. Sion has seen an increase, up 6% compared to last year. Annecy has seen the largest YOY bounce, 107 arrivals, up by 23% compared to Jan-Feb 2023.

Chart 5: Bizjet arrivals into selective European ski resort airports in Jan-Feb 2024

Rest of World

Business jet activity in the Middle East so far this year is still seeing buoyant demand, with departures out ofSaudi Arabia up by 14%, up 5% in Qatar, up 10% in Kuwait, although bizjet departures out of Israel have dropped off by 20% this year compared to last year. Bizjet activity out of Turkey is down more than 30% in February YOY, due to the anniversary of the earthquake last year which stimulated a surge in mainly medical bizjet activity. The Maldives has 11% less activity this year but is still trending up 60% compared to last year. Bizjet flights out of Singapore are flat YOY, whereas activity in China is down 14% YOY, trending up 55% vs 5 years ago.

Chart 6: Bizjet departures from countries outside US and Europe in Jan-Feb 2024