The first week in February showed the upswing in private jet activity continuing year-over-year as aviation continues to recover from the effects of the global pandemic. According to global flight analyst WingX, business jet flights are trending upwards showing a 35 percent increase in activity from last year, 18 percent from 2020, and 13 percent from 2019.
In North America, flight activity during the first week of the month increased by 27 percent year-over-year. While January showed an increase of 10 percent in the U.S. versus pre-pandemic 2019, February has started out at a slower pace, with activity trending just 1.3 percent over February 2019. WingX noted that while fractional operators are seeing record levels of operations, charter demand has dipped slightly.
“The first week of February saw some slowdown compared to January 2022, but U.S. operators are gearing up for Super Bowl LVI coming this weekend,” said WingX managing director Richard Koe. He noted that Southern California gateways are bracing for a surge in activity, with departures on the day after the NFL championship contest averaging 381 percent higher than the daily average for the month of February at airports near the game's venue.
Europe saw nearly 10,000 business jet operations, an increase of 11 percent and 10 percent respectively, compared to the first weeks of February in 2020 and 2019, and 54 percent over 2021’s heavily-restricted levels. France was the busiest business jet market, with levels increased by 54 percent year over year and up more than 5 percent than in pre-Covid 2020. Spain experienced a strong bounceback with operations 73 percent higher than in 2021 and 34 percent above 2020 and 2019.
The most requested city pair was between London and Geneva, with demand for the route up 352 percent over last year. “In Europe, the huge increase in charter flights to Alpine airports demonstrates the rebound in leisure demand as international restrictions get lifted,” Koe stated.
For the rest of the world, business jet activity was 12 percent higher than the same period a year ago, led by privately-owned aircraft which saw a 22 percent rise in usage. Brazil was the most active market with a demand equal to last year, and nearly double that of pre-pandemic 2019.