Global business aircraft flight activity appears to be trending slightly upward so far this year, with jet and turboprop sectors in the first nine days of the month 3 percent ahead of where they were a year ago and up 16 percent from 2019, according to WingX’s latest Global Market Tracker.
Business jet activity alone, however, has been flat as softening charter activity has offset the increase in private flights. Scheduled airline flights, meanwhile, are up 19 percent from a year ago, though they're 12 percent behind pre-pandemic levels.
In North America, the 66,000 business jet sectors flown in the first nine days of the month represent a 0.3 percent decline from 2022 and an 18 percent increase from the comparable period in 2019.
Branded charter has gotten off to a slower chart, down 18 percent from the first nine days of 2022 but up 18 percent from January 2019. Management activity is down 4 percent from 2022 and up 19 percent from 2019. Conversely, though, fractional and private flight activity is up 12 percent from last year and 6 percent from 2019. While light jets were the busiest aircraft segment, activity has been down 3 percent.
Business jet demand has been mixed at the top airports, with activity sliding at West Palm Beach and Miami-Opa Locka in Florida, as well as at Teterboro in New Jersey. Yet Las Vegas McCarran and Dallas Love Field have witnessed double-digit growth.
In Europe, the 9,000 business jet flights in the first nine days of the month marked a 13 percent decline from January a year ago but a 9 percent increase from the same period in 2019. While flights have been down 12 percent in France, the country has been the busiest market in Europe so far, followed by the UK and Switzerland.
Outside of North America and Europe, business jet activity has jumped by 38 percent from early 2022 and by 82 percent from 2019. While flights are down 10 percent, Dubai Al Maktoum is the busiest business jet airport outside of North America and Europe. Brazil has been the busiest market outside North America and Europe, followed by India and Australia.
“Business aviation activity has entered the new year with a small head-start on the first days of January 2022, with some recovery in the U.S. following the winter storm blip in December,” said WingX managing director Richard Koe. “The charter market is still weakening, notably in California, and in the busiest Western European markets. Private flight departments are offsetting these trends with strong growth compared to last year.”