Business aviation has been recovering from the shock caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, but its complete return to normalcy will not happen until next year, according to EBAA COO Robert Baltus. Addressing participants last week at Russian business aviation conference RUBAE in Moscow, he said the industry suffered less than the airlines but nonetheless experienced serious drops while remaining a viable and flexible tool of transportation.
Today, turboprops and light and midsize jets fly more than before the pandemic, Baltus observed. Heavy jets were approaching their pre-pandemic activity in July, though bizliners are still flying markedly less. Worse, the bigger jets are not exploited to full capacity yet, since they do less cross-Atlantic flying and instead count flight cycles on shorter routes over land, lasting 1.5 to three hours.
The impact of Covid-19 on European countries has been different, he said. Statistics on the number of business aircraft flights over the first seven months of this year and the same period in 2019 indicate that many Western European countries have yet to recover. “Comparatively, Eastern Europe feels fine,” Baltus observed. In pandemic times, there has been a considerable rise in traffic in the Baltic states and southeast Europe, with the exception of Slovakia and Kosovo.