Through the start of September, demand for charter flights was 15 to 25 points higher than during the same period in 2010, according to the forward-looking demand index produced by online charter portal Avinode. But on September 20 the index dipped for the first time this year to below 2010 figures, apparently signaling an abrupt end to the busy summer period.
“The drop in September is bigger than normal for this time of year,” Avinode business intelligence manager Magnus Henriksson told BGAD delegates. “It is too early to say why this is, but it could be that people are scared and are holding their money until they know where the economy is going.”
Avinode’s latest data was released on the same day that the Standard & Poor’s credit rating group downgraded Italy’s credit rating to single-A with a negative outlook. Financial markets are concerned that other major European economies, such as Spain and France, could follow suit and there are also worries about the exposure of banks to large-scale debt default.
However, Henriksson did point to some bright spots in the 2011 charter recovery, most notably the Russian market. “We’ve seen the Russian Bear waking up during the spring, driving strong demand for executive charter to and from the Moscow region,” he commented.