One-third of Euro Charter Flights are Empty Legs

 - May 16, 2012, 9:25 AM

European charter operators are the least efficient in the world due to a higher rate of empty-leg flights, Avinode managing director Oliver King said this week at EBACE. On average, the online charter broker calculates that approximately one out of every three flights (33 percent) conducted by European operators is an empty leg, versus a global average of 29 percent.

Charter operators in Russia/CIS are the most efficient, with only a 25-percent empty-leg rate, followed closely by the U.S. and Canada at 27 percent. Middle East operators have a 31-percent empty-leg rate.

According to King, the abundance of available aircraft across the U.S. accounts for the increased operational efficiencies in North America, while centralized demand centers in Russia means charter aircraft can be based near their customers. In Europe, he said, “There is a pull of demand from the East where, in order to capture business, jets from Europe travel great distances to pick up passengers from Russia, the CIS, Ukraine and Turkey.”

Additionally, European aircraft operators tend to bring their aircraft back to the home base after every mission. This is “in contrast to U.S. operators, who are more likely to float their fleets to increase their operational effectiveness,” King noted.