The uneven and somewhat unpredictable nature of the global pandemic was evident in the latest WingX Global Market Tracker, which found modest improvements in U.S. business aviation activity even as it weakens in Europe. Globally, business aviation traffic was down 16 percent in the first three weeks of October when compared with the same period last year, WingX said in this week’s report.
Business aviation is still proving far more resilient than the airlines, which experienced 57 percent year-over-year declines in October or a drop of 933,000 sectors over October 2019. Year-to-date, business aviation activity is down 24 percent and airlines by 52 percent over the same period in 2019.
In Europe, business aviation activity weakened as virus concerns in the region grew. Leisure demand has softened while corporate travel has not yet returned, leading to average trends in sector flow dipping 5 percent in the first three weeks of the month. Flight hours, meanwhile, dropped 17 percent, and activity for segments more than three hours is down 33 percent.
Asia has remained stable at 10 points down year-over-year, while flights in Latin America and Africa are off 20 percent, WingX reported.
North America has stabilized at the 16 percent year-over-year decline that the region experienced in recent months. The U.S. was down just 14 percent. However, areas that have seen far sharper drops include Mexico, which is still 50 percent below normal.
“Increasing efforts to suppress a winter virus wave are blunting flight recovery in Europe,” said WingX managing director Richard Koe. “In the U.S., trends are improving modestly, and Florida continues to be the ballast, with charter demand pretty robust throughout the country.”