Business jet activity is experiencing a resurgence globally in the first half of June, surpassing pre-Covid levels and outpacing cargo growth for the first time, according to the latest Global Market Tracker weekly report from WingX. The business jet sector logged more than 100,000 movements month-to-date, representing 15 percent of all fixed-wing movements and exceeding June 2019 first-half numbers by 12 percent, WingX said. Scheduled airline activity remains 40 percent below pre-pandemic averages for this time of year.
To date in 2021, global business jet and business turboprop activity is within 6 percent of 2019 totals and is up 41 percent from the comparable year-to-date activity in 2020. Business aviation activity is down 15 percent in Europe and 7 percent in North America. However, activity is ahead elsewhere: up by 10 percent in Asia, 45 percent in Africa, 80 percent in South America, and 23 percent in the Middle East. In the U.S. alone, activity is up 1 percent over 2019 levels so far this year with June activity up 20 percent.
By aircraft type, turboprop flights are down by 7 percent from 2019, but light, very light, and super-midsize jet activity is up. However, heavy jet hours are down 13 percent and ultra-long-range jets are still 27 percent below 2019 levels, WingX reported. “The link between range and travel restrictions is clear; globally, domestic sectors are back to where they were in 2019, whereas international business jet sectors are still down by 20 percent versus 2019,” the analyst said.
WingX managing director Richard Koe credited a boost in leisure travel to helping sustain business aviation operations and said that activity likely will accelerate through the summer. The addition of business travel will further propel operations to new highs in 2021, Ko noted. “The surge should reliably follow the lifting of restrictions, with international trips waiting longer but almost certainly at the planning stage,” he concluded.