WingX’s latest monthly Business Aviation Monitor found that 83,230 business aviation flights departed from Europe in August, making it the busiest August in the last decade and up by 2.4% compared to August 2017.
The growth came mainly from business jets, which represented 65% of all activity and was up by 4% YOY. The busiest market was France, despite being down 3% YOY. A 4% decline was seen in Spain, with offsetting growth coming from Italy which was up 4%, UK up 6% and flights from Germany up by 9%. Figures for year-to-date in all top six markets were up compared to 2017, with Germany seeing the biggest growth.
Among the smaller markets, there was double digit YOY growth in Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, and a 75% increase in business aviation flights from Montenegro. YTD, Greece has the strongest rebound this year, with flights up by 10% compared to the first eight months of last year.
Business aviation demand in France continued to decline for large jets, and Spain saw a 12% retreat in YOY flights in this segment. The UK added the largest number of additional large jet flights in August. In small and midsize activity, Germany was up by 11%.
Domestic European flights were up 2.5% in August – in line with YTD trend of 3% – but with considerable regional variance, internal flights in France were down by 6% but flights from France to the UK, Italy and Germany were up by 6%, 9% and 12% respectively.
Germany and Netherlands both had less than 10% growth in charter/AOC activity in August, and only Spain, France and Sweden saw declines in commercial flights during the month. Private flights were up by most in UK and Germany, but fell almost 20% in Russia.
Nice was the busiest airport this month, although activity fell 4.6% YOY. Activity at Luton, Ibiza and Athens was down by close to 10%. Strong monthly growth continues at airports Farnborough, Biggin Hill, Munich, Bodrum and Ataturk.
Richard Koe, managing director of WingX Advance, commented, “August showed a continuation of the now-familiar pattern for European business aviation activity: Growing demand for charter flights but flat trend in private activity; surge in super midsize jet activity, reflecting the increasing entry of Citation Latitude jets; strong growth in light jet activity, particularly Phenom 300; and strong growth at business aviation specialist airports, like Farnborough and Biggin Hill.
“There are also some signs of weaker activity, notably a big slowdown in very light jets, and less activity at larger airports like Luton, Ciampino and Munich.”