This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
According to data released today by WingX Advance, global business aviation activity is down 58 percent month-to-date versus last year, but is still better than the 70 percent decline recorded in April. Notably, there has been a consistent increase in the seven-day average daily activity since mid-April, and it is now trending at 5,900 flights per day worldwide.
The North American business aviation market is dominant, with 53,000 departures month-to-date—58 percent below normal, but representing 82 percent of global activity. Looking at other regions, Asia business aircraft traffic is down 61 percent thus far in May; Africa, -54 percent; Europe, -66 percent; and Oceana, -34 percent. Across all regions, business aviation has increased its share of total fixed-wing activity from around 20 percent to 35 percent, WingX said.
By aircraft segment, large-cabin jet activity continues to be the most subdued, flying 75 percent less than normal. Meanwhile, light jet activity is around 50 percent of normal levels, while turboprop flying is “slightly more resilient,” said WingX. The Beechcraft King Air 200, Pilatus PC-12, and Cessna Caravan continue to be the workhorses in the turboprop segment, while the busiest jet models are the Bombardier Challenger 300 and Cessna Citation XLS.
This resilience in business aviation contrasts with global scheduled airline activity, which is down 85 percent month-to-date and has shown only slight signs of improvement since April. Meanwhile, global cargo activity is the most resilient sector, with that traffic down by 20 percent month-to-date.
"Business aviation activity globally is still at least 50 percent below normal, but the trend this month is stronger than last month, and steadily recovering in all regions, in contrast to still-idle scheduled airline capacity,” WingX Advance managing director Richard Koe said today. “In business aviation, the green shoots are most obvious in the U.S., and still largely limited to light jet and turboprops. The next phase of recovery will be the return of international traffic, which is still at very low levels.”