This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
European business aviation activity saw a strong rebound in August, with traffic levels up by three percent over the same period in 2019, according to the latest statistics from industry data provider WingX Advance. The company noted, however, the total flight hours were down, evidence of the trend of shorter flights seen throughout the recovery.
Corresponding to several unexpected travel quarantines that arose during mid-August, usage dipped, but by the end of the month, the average 7-day daily activity was up to 2,344 flights, nearly six times the low point of the trough in April. WingX observed large increases in activity in Turkey, Russia, and the Czech Republic, which put them well ahead of the pace set a year ago. Major markets such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and France also saw strong usage. From April to August, European business aviation was still down by 34 percent compared with the same period last year.
In the North American market, while overall flights lagged the previous August by 21 percent, domestic activity is back up to 81 percent of normal activity for the month, with weekend traffic reaching more than 90 percent. California and Texas were the busiest U.S. states accounting for nearly a third of all flights in August, while Hawaii experienced a strong downturn with traffic levels for the month off by 65 percent year-over-year.
The busiest airport for business travel worldwide in August was Dallas Love Field, which averaged 100 departures a day, a nearly 10 percent increase year-over-year. New York City-area Teterboro Airport, in normal times the global hub for business travel, is one of the airports most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic but gradually returned to 50 percent of its normal activity for the month. The Pilatus PC-12 was the most used business aircraft for the month, with more than 1,000 flights a day worldwide. Bombardier's Challenger 300 was the most active business jet, tallying more than 15,000 sectors in August, 75 percent of them in the U.S., a volume which was down 12 percent year-over-year.
“August saw the overall market edge further towards recovery, with marked variation between Europe and the U.S.,” said WingX managing director Richard Koe. “Further ahead in the pandemic curve, European countries have substantially opened their economies, and belatedly, tourism has been rebooted. The U.S market is still some way behind, but as the public health crisis recedes, there may now be a quicker upturn.”