Global business aviation activity between the start of April and through the first week of May was down 8 percent versus the same period in 2019 with similar results in the U.S. and a “gradual” but “stuttering” recovery in Europe, according to the latest data from WingX. Year-to-date, worldwide activity is up 28 percent compared with last year but down by 9 percent in the same period in 2019.
With just under a million flights in the U.S., business aviation activity was down by 8 percent year-to-date (YTD) versus 2019 but up nearly 30 percent from the same period in 2020. Leading that activity was charter, with branded operators recording a 23.4 percent increase over 2019 YTD departures and a 37.6 percent increase in the same period last year.
While all regions of the U.S. saw more activity this year than last, the Southeast and Southwest were stronger than the West Coast. The Midwest and Northeast were slower to recover. Also of note, the seven-day rolling average of U.S. activity in the first few days of May peaked at 9,217 departures, a level that hasn’t been seen since July 12, 2019.
In Europe, activity was 10 percent higher than 2020 YTD but off 20 percent from the same period in 2019. France was the busiest market, up 13 percent from last year—and 40 percent higher domestically—but overall flights were 22 percent below 2019 levels.
In other parts of the world, business aviation activity was up 26 percent YTD. Canada was the only top market still to surpass last year’s activity. In China, Nigeria, and Brazil, activity—nearly all domestic—has doubled this year compared with last year. Despite a surge in the pandemic in India, flight activity was still up 60 percent YTD.
“Business aviation is steadily closing in on parity with 2019, powered by a rebound in demand in the U.S., with strong demand in other countries such as China, Nigeria, Brazil, and Australia,” said WingX managing director Richard Koe. “Flight activity in Europe is only just recovering 2020 trends and may struggle to keep up with the relatively quick recovery we saw in flight demand as restrictions got lifted last summer.”