Business aircraft flying worldwide is continuing its strong recovery in the post-Covid environment, according to the latest statistics released by industry observer WingX Advance. The company reported that, in the first 12 days of July, there were 177,000 business jet and turboprop flights, representing a more than 40 percent year-over-year increase and also 11 percent above pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
U.S. business jet demand was nearly 30 percent higher this July than in 2019, while European usage was up 9 percent over the same comparative period. In contrast, commercial airline activity lags its July 2019 numbers by 33 percent, and it is down 44 percent compared with January through July 2019.
Year-to-date European business jet activity lags its 2019 tally by 11 percent, while in the U.S. it is up 4 percent, buoyed by a Fourth of July surge in private leisure travel. July so far has seen a 30 percent increase in U.S. charter compared with pre-pandemic demand, with aircraft utilization rates approaching 50 hours per month, well ahead of historic trends.
Super-light and midsize jets such as the Phenom 300, Challenger 300, and Citation Latitude are experiencing the highest utilization. In the U.S., Florida is seeing the most activity, with 26 percent more flights than in July 2019, while California is up 10 percent. High-end leisure enclaves Nantucket, Massachusetts, and Aspen, Colorado, ranked seventh and ninth respectively, as the busiest airports this year for business aviation, with activity at both exceeding their 2019 levels by more than 25 percent.
The company noted a strong recovery in domestic business jet travel for Brazil, China, India, Australia, Russia, Turkey, and Nigeria, with activity well ahead of pre-pandemic levels. Including international flights, the Middle East has also seen a consistent recovery.
“The business aviation recovery has stepped up in July, with the U.S. still dominating, heading into a summer season which is likely to surpass the normal seasonal peaks in spring and fall," said WingX managing director Richard Koe. "European activity is finally on the rebound overall but still looks fragile in Western Europe. The northern hemisphere’s next few months should be buoyed by summer charter demand, with the upside potential of business travelers getting back on the road by September.”