Business aviation traffic in Europe is on the rise after having been badly hit last year. Local business airports confirm Eurocontrol’s latest continent-wide flight numbers, and the full details of the air traffic management agency’s statistics are to be presented here at EBACE this afternoon from 2 to 3 p.m.
In the first three months of this year, traffic grew by 5.1 percent, to 148,374 aircraft movements (including overflights), a Eurocontrol spokesperson told AIN. These numbers, based on aircraft types, show the bizav traffic trend becoming more positive between January and March. Traffic to and from Europe grew faster than “internal” traffic over this period.
By contrast, 2009 ended with a 14-percent decrease, to 652,098 movements. The worst month last year was February–24.3 percent down on the same month in 2008. Traffic trends began being less catastrophic in the summer and were back in the black from November, according to Eurocontrol data.
For instance, at Paris Le Bourget Airport (Booth No. 546), traffic in 2009 fell 11 percent, to 57,900 movements compared to a year earlier. But recent months have seen some signs of recovery, according to airport manager Michel de Ronne. “In spite of the [financial] crisis, strikes and a particularly harsh winter, airport movements have increased since October,” he explained.
Also in France, Cannes Airport (Booth No. 542) saw its 2009 traffic dip by 14.3 percent, to 10,624 movements. The first sector hit was executive charter, but according to airport manager Olivier Dufour, the trend has been positive since the beginning of this year. He estimated this recent growth at between 5 and 7 percent, month over month. “The more we go into 2010, the better the traffic,” he added.
At Roskilde Airport in Denmark (Booth No. 796), last quarter movements among aircraft weighing between 5.7 and 10 metric tons (12,500 to 22,000 pounds) increased by 23 percent compared to 2009. And, last year saw a 10-percent decrease compared to 2008. FBO supervisor Anders Halgaard expects a yearly increase of 10 to 15 percent for business aviation traffic.
Lyon Bron Airport (Booth No. 545) last year recorded a 7-percent decrease in aircraft movements, to 6,700. “We were not hit too hard, thanks to the local economy doing relatively well,” airport manager Eric Dumas said. The first months of this year were impacted by bad weather and air traffic control strikes, he added.
Bucking the trend is London Oxford Airport (Booth No. 1359). In the period from April 2009 to March 2010, business aviation movements were up by 12 percent, albeit from a lower base. Over the same period, visiting aircraft traffic grew by 32 percent, according to Oxford’s head of marketing James Dillon-Godfray. The traffic increase reached 25 percent during the first quarter, compared to same period in 2009. For this year, Dillon-Godfray expects to welcome around 6,000 business aircraft movements.