This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Business aviation traffic jumped dramatically, but not surprisingly, year-over-year (YOY) in April, reaching triple-digit-percentage increases in both the U.S. and Europe, even as it ebbed in both regions over March operations, according to just-released TraqPak data from aviation research specialist Argus International.
In the U.S. last month, flights were up 250.5 percent overall from April 2020, when the wave of lockdowns was in full effect. And as a sign of further rebound, the 262,277 business aviation flights logged in April were also up by 359 from April 2019.
Midsize jets showed the biggest YOY gains by aircraft category in the U.S., with flights up 365.9 percent in April. However, flights involving large jets at fractional operators soared last month, marking a 538.4 percent YOY increase. Overall, fractional operations were up 475.6 percent YOY. Part 135 operations involving turboprops represented the most modest gain, but even that was up 138.6 percent YOY. Overall, Part 135 flights increased 238.5 percent YOY and Part 91 by 219.5 percent.
Argus expects May to show another YOY leap in U.S. operations, up 94.5 percent. However, the analyst further predicts traffic to be down 1.1 percent from May 2019.
Also, traffic in April slowed in the U.S. from a month earlier by 1.4 percent. Fractional operations increased 2.2. percent from March to April, with turboprop flights up 17.9 percent. But Part 135 operations were down monthly by 2.7 percent, with large-jet operations off 6.7 percent and midsize jets by 6.4 percent. Part 91 flights also were down 1.5 percent overall.
In Europe, operations were up from April 2020 by 153.9 percent with super-midsize jets soaring 448.9 percent YOY. The midsize-jet category was up overall by 236.5 percent YOY with turboprop flights again showing the most modest increase of 83.7 percent.
Similar to the U.S., European flights slowed from March by 2.3 percent, with light jets coming in 5.4 percent lower. Midsize jets, however, gained slightly in operations month-over-month, up 0.9 percent.