This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
On a year-over-year basis, business aviation traffic in the U.S. was down only 7 percent over the extended Independence Day holiday weekend (July 1 to July 5), according to data released today by WingX Advance. The company said this illustrates that the segment’s recovery in the world’s key market is running apace, despite rising Covid-19 contagion and resumption of travel restrictions in some states.
Over the past two weeks, U.S. business jet and prop activity has reached 85 percent of normal levels for the period. In fact, California has reclaimed its status as the busiest state, with around 10,000 business aircraft departures in the last two weeks—8 percent under par. Meanwhile, Florida has sustained its year-over-year growth trends from June and is up 12 percent, and Colorado, Montana, and Arizona have all seen about 5 percent growth in flights in the two weeks preceding the July 4 holiday. But the U.S East Coast is still suffering the biggest declines in activity, with New York and New Jersey down 23 percent and 40 percent year-over-year, respectively, in the last two weeks.
Globally, recovery in aircraft utilization has also been encouraging, with Europe back up to 77 percent of normal activity, while Oceania and South America have stabilized at around 93 percent of usual activity, WingX said. Asia is somewhat stuck at 27 percent below normal and traffic in Africa continues to trail by 31 percent.
“Whether it’s despite the growing contagion concerns, or because of them, business aviation activity is continuing to be led by a recovery in the U.S., especially evident around Independence Day,” said Wingx Advance managing director Richard Koe. “Leisure demand is clearly the driver at this point, with the holiday seeing lots of traffic to popular summer resorts. In Europe, charter requests are breaking records, and even if conversion is low, we expect to see the next month’s charter activity reflect a fairly strong pipeline. The longer-term outlook depends on what happens to business travel.”