This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
A new post-March high in global business aviation activity has been recorded in the past few days with an average of 11,500 flights a day, according to WingX’s weekly Global Market Tracker. However, in the past six months, global business aviation flights are down 37 percent—a total of 844,000 flights—compared with the same period in 2019, according to the report.
During the period, a previously robust recovery in the U.S. has slowed to a 19 percent deficit in flights so far in August and a 21 percent decline comparing July 2020 to July 2019. The decline is fueled by stagnant bellwether states in the U.S. such as in California, New York, and Florida, which have reversed the growth trend recorded in June and July and are now down 2 percent. But Texas has resumed growth and is now at 87 percent of normal activity compared with last year. Also, growth has been noted in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah. “The recovery in business aviation activity this summer has turned stop-start in the last month,” said WingX Advance managing director Richard Koe. “If the U.S. follows the same pandemic recovery as Europe, there should be a strong pent-up recovery in early fall.”
In Europe, flights are up 2 percent compared with the same period last year, driven by countries in central and eastern Europe such as Germany, up 17 percent, Switzerland, up 21 percent, and 25 percent or more in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Ukraine. Yet flights in Spain are off 8 percent in August following the reinstatement of travel restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic. “This good news should be taken cautiously because it looks like a concentration of delayed holiday and leisure trips; it’s not sustainable and there is still very little sign of a recovery in the corporate customer,” Koe added.
Elsewhere, the report said business aviation flights in Asia are closing in on pre-pandemic levels. Australia is up while India is down. Flights from and within China are up by 16 percent compared with August 2019 and growth is noted in the UAE, Israel, Brazil, Colombia, South Africa, and Nigeria. Demand is down in Mexico as well as in the Bahamas, Singapore, Japan, and Argentina.