Global Bizav Activity Down 12% In September, WingX Says

Credit: Bombardier

Worldwide business aviation activity is trending down 12% in September compared to a year ago, but is an improvement from summer declines, according to WingX Advance data. 

By comparison, activity was down 20% in June, 18% in July and 16% in August. Activity continues to be more resilient than commercial aviation, however, with activity down 57% in the commercial market in the U.S. and falling 60% in Europe, WingX says. 

September activity has favored preference for small and midsize jets versus the larger jets, as reflected in the number of flight hours. Ultra-long-range jet activity by sector is down 18% in September with flight hours declining by 32%. Super light jet activity, however, is slightly ahead when measured by hours. 

In Europe, very light jet activity is up 9% so far in September, mainly due to charter demand.

In the U.S., charter demand is boosting recovery in flight activity, WingX says. Flight hours by branded charter operators is down 12% for the year but has risen 4% so far in September.

Charter operations are down at Teterboro, New Jersey; McCarran Las Vegas and Oakland, California airports, while activity is up at airports in Van Nuys, California; Nantucket, Massachusetts; and Miami-Opa Locka and West Palm Beach in Florida. 

In Europe, charter operations have risen in Switzerland, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Russia, Serbia and the Czech Republic, compared to a year ago. At the same time, charter activity posted “steep declines” in demand in the UK, France, Spain and Greece. The overall charter market is down 2% in terms of flight hours and flat when measured by segments.

“The European market is showing predictable slowdown as leisure demand winds up, although the light jet charter market has stayed resilient. That may change in the second half of the month as holidays end,” said Richard Koe, WingX Advance managing director. “The U.S. market is improving on its recent YOY trend, with the boost coming from charter operations.”

The biggest question going into the fourth quarter of 2020 is whether new first-time users of business aviation will continue, Koe said.

“The planned cutbacks in regional airline services next month may provide some incentive,” he said. 

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.