This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
North American business aviation traffic has ceased dropping and has flatlined at between 2,000 and 2,500 flights per day, Argus International v-p of market intelligence Travis Kuhn said during the company’s webinar earlier this week. He expects this to continue through at least mid-May, when the region could finally see green shoots of a recovery in flight activity, though the month is expected to be down 42 percent year-over-year.
The restart in business aviation flights in the U.S. will be mostly domestic driven, with Texas, Florida, and Georgia—which together historically account for 21 percent of business aviation traffic in the U.S.—being key to recovery, he said. “The faster these states open, the faster traffic will rise. These are important markets to watch.”
While Kuhn expects business aviation to recover faster than the airlines, he said on-demand charter operators will likely lead the gains since they can respond to requests in less than 48 hours. He expects the fractionals to fare worse in the recovery than both Part 91 and 135 operators.
While the traffic declines over the past five weeks have inversely followed the rise in Covid-19 cases, Kuhn said the recovery will more closely track the stock market. He predicts that activity will be more normal in three to six months, with the U.S. elections possibly helping to boost business aviation traffic later this year.
The recovery in international departures from the U.S. will be “on hold” until there is a better handle on Covid-19 cases and there is less uncertainly in financial markets, Kuhn concluded.