European Bizav Flying Flirts with 2008 Peak

 - July 11, 2018, 10:14 AM
Business aircraft flying in Europe reached near-2008 peak levels last month, logging 89,289 departures. Demand was up sharply for super-midsize and larger business jets, including the Gulfstream G280. (Photo: Gulfstream)

Business aviation departures in Europe climbed 4.4 percent year-over-year last month and the total was just 0.4 percent shy of reaching peak levels seen in June 2008, according to data released today by Hamburg, Germany-based WingX Advance. Year-to-date growth stands at 2.7 percent versus a year ago, while the rolling 12-month average is up 3.3 percent, the company noted.

Activity across all the “big markets” increased year-over-year last month, with Italy up 4 percent; the UK, 5 percent; Germany and Spain, each 7 percent; and Switzerland, 9 percent. France saw only a modest gain, WingX said. Spain and Germany have the strongest growth trends year-to-date—each rising 5 percent—versus first-half 2017.

Strong gains were also seen in Ireland last month, which soared 11 percent from a year ago; Russia, 12 percent; Greece, 14 percent; and Portugal, 33 percent. Notably, Athens saw 22 percent growth in large-cabin jet flights last month, with similarly strong growth in this segment from Vienna and Ibiza.

Last month’s growth came mainly from intra-Europe flights, which rose 5 percent year-over-year. Exceptions were domestic France activity, which was flat, while flights between Germany and France fell about 10 percent. Meanwhile, flights from Europe to the Middle East and U.S. were down 9 percent and 1 percent, respectively, according to WingX.

Business aircraft departures from Paris Le Bourget jumped 14 percent and those from Farnborough, London Biggin Hill, Malaga, and Barcelona all saw growth of around 20 percent from a year ago.

“As anticipated, this summer is seeing strong growth in business aviation activity, with activity levels finally back where they were a decade ago,” said WingX managing director Richard Koe. “Demand in Germany is providing much of the momentum, so too is the growth in flights to top Med resorts in Croatia, the Balearics, and Cote d´Azur, where the increase in long-range heavy jet activity is conspicuous.”