The Coronavirus pandemic is already negatively impacting business aviation, despite a short-term increase in flights from people attempting to escape the spread of the virus.
With the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from China across the world, travel restrictions, such as the US travel ban on Schengen-area European countries are becoming more commonplace.
Aviation data research and consultancy WINGX monthly Business Aviation Monitor recorded at total of 57,227 business aviation flights last month, around 3% less than in 2019.
A drop in flight activity was also seen in Germany (13%) in February, as well as from the while flights from Italy, Spain, Russia increased year-to-date.
The first week of March showed a 6% decline year-to-date, with a 40% drop in flights out of Italy.
Richard Koe, managing director of WINGX said, “The effects of COVID-19 are already evident, with business jet arrivals from China down by 30% year-on year and Germany´s market seeing the largest impact of the virus crisis in Asia.
“Looking ahead, we can already see the escalating negative effect of virus containment measures in Europe, with the potential repercussions for a significant economic relapse in the region over the next few months bound to depress business jet activity further.”
However, many private jet charter operators and brokers have also reported an increase in requests for flights from people traveling to avoid the virus and impending travel bans and also as an alternative to commercial aviation.
Charter company PrivateFly experienced a significant rise in demand for short notice flights from American clients returning to the US or to the UK from other parts of Europe.
CEO of PrivateFly, Adam Twidell said, “Many of those with a need to travel are looking to avoid exposure to crowds in airliner cabins and when moving through main airport terminals
“However, this short term increase in flight demand is obviously balanced with longer term concerns and challenges, including the impact on the global economy.”