MEBAA Convention News

Business Aircraft Flight Activity in MENA Peaked after Pandemic

 - December 7, 2022, 2:47 AM
WingX managing director Richard Koe outlined changes in business aviation traffic from November 2019 through November 2022 during MEBAA 2022. (Photo: Matt Thurber)

During a presentation on Tuesday at MEBAA 2022, WingX managing director Richard Koe updated attendees on business jet traffic growth since November 2019, highlighting factors that have affected activity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

“The pandemic created a record new peak in flight activity,” he said. While the MENA region accounted for only 1.3 percent of worldwide activity from November 2019 through November 2022, “it is growing quickly,” he added, up 10 percent over the period.

There are 426 business jets based in the MENA region, representing 1.4 percent of the global fleet. More than two-thirds of those are long-range jets, although deliveries of smaller jets have grown 15 to 20 percent. An interesting development is that sector lengths of MENA business jet trips have dropped on routes to Europe and grown for connections within the region.

Driving the growth in business jet activity in MENA is the drop in scheduled airline movements, which have yet to recover fully from the pandemic slowdown. “That’s bound to be a driver for business aviation,” Koe said. Worldwide airline movements during the period discussed are down 22 percent, while MENA airline movements dropped 10 percent. “When scheduled airlines are down, business jets are up,” he noted. “This is evidence that people are using business aviation.”

Some of the drivers of increased business jet activity in the MENA region aren’t just business needs but events like the FIFA World Cup and humanitarian operations in Iraq. 

Another surprising number is that business jet movements from Al Maktoum International Airport to MENA airports are up 200 percent since late 2019. Another high-traffic destination affecting that number is Moscow.

Despite factors such as economic concerns and the dissipation of the Covid effect, WingX anticipates a compound annual growth rate of 15 to 20 percent for business aircraft flying in the MENA region for the next five years.