Bizjet flights drop in May despite EBACE event


WINGX has reported a second successive year-on-year (YOY) decline of 3% in business aviation departures in Europe in May, with 77,189 flights taking off.

European business aviation activity is now down by 1.7%, 5,500 fewer flights than in 2018.

Private activity was down by most for May, with owner business jet flights slumping 7% YOY, 9% down in business jet activity. Charter and AOC activity was flat overall for the month but was flattered by growth in the business piston sector.

Small and midsize jet activity suffered most this month, with 5.3% fewer flights. In contrast, large jet flights were up by 0.7% YOY. In France and UK, small to midsized jet activity fell 10%. UK also had 5% fewer large jet flights, but these aircraft were up 9% from Spain.

Overall, declines in business aviation activity were biggest in France, Germany, and UK, down 4.5%, with all three markets down at least 2% YTD. Flight activity was flat in Spain, but up by 11% Norway. From Switzerland, flights were down 6% for the month.

Business aviation flights within Europe were down 2.9% this month, but are still trending up by 0.4% in the last 12 months. May flight departures to almost all global regions were down, most notably to Africa with flight numbers decreasing by 10%. Flights to South America were up 5% YOY.

Farnborough was the only top 10 airport with growth this month, with the largest drops in activity seen at Cannes and Nice with departures falling more than 10% YOY. Both Geneva and Ciampino have declines of over 10% so far this year.

Richard Koe, managing director of WINGX, said, “A second consecutive drop of 3% in YOY business aviation activity confirms an increasing slowdown in the European market in 2019, reflecting the somewhat downbeat sentiment at EBACE. Symptomatically, whilst Nice and Cannes had their usual busy months in May, comparable YOY activity at these airports was down at least 10%.

“The Brexit stranglehold on business activity in Europe ­– and especially UK – is showing up in the continuing stagnation of flight demand out of London. Small and midsize jet activity is most affected, and particularly in owner flights, suggesting that discretionary trips have been put on hold.”

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Kirstie worked full-time on Business Airport International for over two years and is now a freelance journalist. Away from her writing commitments, you will find her blogging on her lifestyle website or training for her next charity run.

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