Russia-Ukraine Conflict Drags Down Aviation Activity

 - April 14, 2022, 1:05 PM

The Russia-Ukraine war is having a debilitating effect on aviation in the region, according to the latest weekly fligth statistics from industry data provider WingX Advance. Total fixed-wing activity has dropped by 43 percent year-over-year in the first part of April. While WingX noted that the volume is still higher than April 2020 at the height of the Covid lockdowns, it is half of the activity seen in pre-pandemic 2019.

On the business aviation side, there were just 59 international flights over the past week in this region, a drop of nearly 90 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels. The data provider observed that most of the activity that is left is domestic within Russia, using privately-owned aircraft, with charter flights virtually nonexistent.

The war is dampening the record levels of business jet activity in Europe, which before the conflict was 14 percent above pre-pandemic 2019 January-to-date numbers. While still 7 percent above April 2019 levels, with Russia excluded that number rises to 10 percent. The UK, Spain, and Switzerland are all more than 20 percent above the April 2019 totals, but Germany has seen the most impact from the conflict with activity declining 13 percent month-to-date versus a year ago.

“As the Ukraine crisis deepens, record business jet demand in Europe is slowing, with demand in Germany falling back from recent highs, now back below pre-pandemic levels. Small and midsize jets are doing an increasing share of activity, with larger jets more exposed to fading demand from Russian customers,” said WingX managing director Richard Koe. “Across the Atlantic, the U.S. market is still very strong, especially in large-cabin aircraft.”

North America is still experiencing records activity, up 25 percent from April 2019, and five times the activity in April 2020. Koe noted the ultra-long-range jet segment is now seeing the strongest rebound, compared to the previous year with segments up by 60 percent compared to April last year and 39 percent versus April 2019. 80 percent of that activity is domestic.