A second successive 3 percent year-over-year decline in business aviation departures in Europe is pointing to an increasing slowdown on the continent, WingX reported yesterday. Releasing its latest Business Aviation Monitor, WingX said the summer season started “well off last year’s pace,” with 77,189 business aviation departures last month. Through the first five months, activity is down by 1.7 percent overall, with 5,500 fewer flights.
Private flying declined the most last month, with owner-flown business jet flights down 7 percent year-over-year. Charter flights remained flat, thanks to the strength of business piston flights and the ultra-long-range jet segment. Small and midsize jet activity slowed the most of all aircraft categories, falling 5.3 percent. Large-cabin jets flights, however, held their own, inching up by 0.7 percent.
A 9 percent jump in large jet flights in Spain helped buffer the 5 percent slide of such flights in the UK. Small and midsize jet activity, meanwhile, dropped by 10 percent in the UK and France. Germany joined France and the UK as seeing the largest slides in business aviation activity. While traffic was down overall in the UK, Farnborough experienced growth and was the only top 10 airport in Europe to do so last month.
Overall, declines in business aviation activity were the biggest out of France, Germany, and the UK. Flight activity was flat in Spain, while Norway experienced an increase. Flights within Europe slid 2.9 percent.
Cessna aircraft flights were among those seeing the sharpest decline at 8 percent overall and 18 percent with just owner flights. Gulfstream and Dassault activity flights dipped slightly, while Bombardier flights improved by 5 percent, WingX reported.
The slide in flights reflected “the somewhat downbeat sentiment at EBACE,” said WingX managing director Richard Koe. “Symptomatically, while Nice and Cannes had their usual busy months in May, comparable year-over-year activity at these airports was down at least 10 percent.”
Koe also pointed to Brexit as having a “stranglehold” on activity in Europe, and the UK in particular. “Small and midsize jet activity is most affected, and particularly in owner flights, suggesting that discretionary trips have been put on hold,” he said.