Spring Break lifts US bizjet activity above March 2023

Business aviation activity is robust everywhere but Europe in March 2024. The core US market is normally busiest this time of year, and is slightly stronger than March last year when demand was affected by the regional banking crisis, but still some way off the peak in the post-Covid market back in March 2022.

Global

For Week 12, through March 24th, global business jet activity was up 7% YOY compared to Week 12 of 2023, on par with Week 12 in 2022. 73,639 business jet sectors were flown last week, 2% more than the previous week. So far this month, 1st – 24th March, global business jet activity is 2% ahead of last year, 3% behind March 2022, 36% ahead of comparable March 2019. Scheduled airline activity is 22% ahead of March last year, 10% ahead of pre-pandemic 2019. Despite 27% growth compared to March 5 years ago, dedicated cargo sectors are down 3% year-on-year.

Chart 1: 1st 24th March activity by sector, compared to previous years. (Business aviation = business jets only)

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

United States

In Week 12, 50,603 business jet sectors were flown in the United States, 2% ahead of the previous week, 7% ahead of Week 12 in 2023. So far this month (1st 24th March), 169,331 bizjet sectors have departed US airports, 1% above March last year, 31% ahead of March 2019. Busiest US State this month was Florida, bizjet departures 4% ahead of last year, although 6% below 2022. Georgia has seen bizjet departures fall compared to March last year, the only State in the top 10 to do so. Top metro area New York has seen activity rise 3% compared to last year, 13% ahead of 2019. Departures out of Las Vegas have fallen 21% year-on-year, although remain 19% ahead of comparable 2019.

Chart 2: US Departure States, bizjets, 1st 24th March 2024 vs previous years.

Chart 3: Business jet types, US departures, 1st 24th March 2024 vs previous years.

Chart 4: US Bizjet departures by airport, 1st 24th March 2024 vs previous years.

Europe

In Week 12, European business jet activity was 3% below Week 12 2023, 8% below W12 2022. Business jet activity in Europe is 4% below March last year, holding just 1% ahead of pre-pandemic March 2019. Busiest markets France, United Kingdom and Germany are all behind last year, France and Germany seeing activity dip 7% and 5% behind 2019. Other markets with notable year-on-year declines are the Netherlands, down 19% and Poland, down 14%.

Spain and Italy continue to buck the regional trend, being the only countries in the top 10 in terms of bizjet departures to see year-on-year growth. With almost 1,000 bizjet flights this month, Italy’s domestic bizjet market is strong, sectors 10% ahead of last year. Fractional and Corporate Flight Department fleets are lifting Italian domestic bizjet travel, sectors are 40% and 29% ahead of March last year. Branded Charter fleets are flying the most domestic bizjet sectors, although demand has slipped 3% below last year. Across all bizjet operator types in Italy, France and Switzerland are the top international connections.

Chart 5: Top airport pairs, bizjet departures from Italy, 1st 24th March 2024 vs previous years.

Chart 6: Business Jet departures, domestic flights in Italy, 1st 24th March 2024 vs previous years.

Rest of World

In Week 12, bizjet activity in the Middle East grew 9% compared to the previous week, falling 13% behind Week 12 in 2023, 24% behind Week 12 2024.

So far this month activity in the United Arab Emirates has fallen 17% year-on-year, although over 100% growth compared to 2019. Bizjet sectors in Saudi Arabia falling even further, departures are down 35% year-on-year. Elsewhere outside the US and Europe, China is seeing triple digit growth vs last year and 5 years ago, Australia seeing a 35% increase in bizjet activity compared to last year.

The hosting of the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix appeared to have a small impact on bizjet arrivals at YMEN, YMMB and YMML airports over the weekend (22nd 24th March), just 25 bizjet arrivals over the Grand Prix weekend, compared to the average of 11 daily arrivals so far this month. Notably though, 24 bizjets arrived on the 21st of March, 1 day prior to the Grand Prix weekend starting.

Chart 7: Business jet departure countries, outside of Europe and United States, 1st 24th March 2024 vs previous years.