Bizav Traffic into the UK Spikes Ahead of Quarantine, Then Falls

 - June 8, 2020, 12:21 PM
Business aircraft traffic into the UK spiked upwards ahead of the June 8 start of new quarantine requirements, only to then fall off steeply. [Data: WingX]

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

Business aircraft arrivals into the UK spiked in recent days as travelers rushed to re-enter the country before being required to be quarantined at a fixed address for 14 days under rules that came into force just after midnight today. Data from industry analyst WingX showed 80 arrivals yesterday, which was more than double the meager 38 arrivals seen on May 17.

Flights into the country started climbing steeply from June 2, when it became clear that the UK government would not yield to aviation industry pleas not to implement the quarantine. The WingX data shows that 102 business aircraft departed the UK yesterday. On the same day in 2019, 195 aircraft flew out of the country.

On June 8, just 33 business aircraft arrived in the UK, which was the lowest level since May 9 and well down on the recent daily average recorded by WingX of 75 arrivals. By contrast on the comparable Monday in 2019, June 3, there were 167 arrivals, representing a dip of 80 percent. By contrast, scheduled airline arrivals into the UK on June 8 did not decline as steeply. 

Airline and business aviation groups have argued that the quarantine is not a valid public health measure given that most other countries now have lower Covid-19 infection rates than the UK. On June 4, the British Business and General Aviation Association appealed to the UK Home Office for business aviation traffic to be granted a block exemption to the quarantine, based on the relatively low number of passengers carried and the industry’s offer to implement extra protective measures, including testing and strict social distancing.

British Airways, EasyJet, and Ryanair confirmed on Monday that they have mounted a legal challenge against the government to have the quarantine suspended.

Last week, WingX announced a partnership with The Air Charter Association to make its business aviation market analysis available to the industry group's members free of charge as part of their membership benefits. ACA's 260 member companies will have access to to WingX's interactive dashboards, allowing them to identify flight trends and potential opportunities for charter bookings. The group represents air charter brokers and operators in the U.S., Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Europe. 

[This story was updated on June 9 to incorporate fresh traffic data provided by WingX].