Global business aircraft activity continues to soften, down 6 percent in the last four weeks compared with the same period in 2022, according to WingX’s Global Market Tracker. This continues a trend that has carried throughout the year, with activity down 3 percent year-to-date versus the same period in 2022. However, this activity is 14 percent ahead of the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, WingX noted.
In North America, activity fell 7 percent year-over-year in the past four weeks. But activity in the first week of May (Week 18) was 5 percent ahead of the last week of April, with Part 135 and 91K operations up 7 percent.
WingX noted that the Kentucky Derby helped drive a spike in business jet traffic, particularly at airports in Louisville, accommodating 726 business jet arrivals in the three days before the event. On the day of the derby, 192 arrivals visited local airports, but this was down 9 percent from last year.
In Europe, business jet activity dropped 7 percent year-over-year in the last four weeks and by 9 percent year-to-date. France has started off May as the busiest market, albeit 8 percent behind the first week in May 2022. The UK is the second-busiest market.
Meanwhile, activity in the rest of the world during Week 18 was 7 percent ahead of last year, with Africa seeing a 25 percent jump, South America rose 9 percent, followed by Asia, up 5 percent, and the Middle East, with a 3 percent gain.
“The year-on-year deficit appears to be narrowing as we come out of spring, reflecting the fact that the first quarter of 2022 was a one-off and exceptional spike in demand for private jet travel,” noted WingX managing director Richard Koe. “Fractional operators appear to have maintained the largest gains compared to pre-pandemic. The charter market continues to look soft compared to last year.”