This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Aviation analyst and data research specialist WingX is seeing global business jet activity settle at about 85 percent of what it was a year ago. The figure translates into about 50,000 fewer business jet sectors since the beginning of September, WingX reported.
Including turboprops during that period, business aviation flight hours declined 18 percent year-over-year, with a little more than 550,000 hours logged. However, that is still a marked improvement from scheduled airline activity, which is still down about 50 percent. Cargo operations, meanwhile, are trending worldwide at about 95 percent of 2019 activity.
About 90 percent of all business jet sectors over the past six weeks have occurred in North America and Europe. But those markets are still about 20 percent down in flight hours. Including turboprops, Europe is faring better with an 11 percent decline in flights, compared with the 19 percent decline in North America. In Asia, business jet activity has rebounded to more than 90 percent of typical activity, although flight hours are down 28 percent. That indicates that inter-regional connections remain quiet, WingX said. The number of sectors has risen year-over-year in South America, Oceania, and Africa in the past four weeks.
Flight activity is increasing in the U.S. as is typical for this time a year, with the recent seven-day rolling trends reaching their highest point since mid-March. More than 7,900 sectors were flown daily in the first week of this month in the U.S., WingX said, noting that at the low point in April, 2,500 sectors were flown. Very light and light jets, in particular, have rebounded in the U.S., reaching 90 percent of typical activity.
“It’s encouraging that the recovery has not significantly relapsed as we move from summer to autumn, despite much less support from leisure travelers,” said WingX managing director Richard Koe.