This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Global business aviation activity through May 26 was about half of the normal levels from a year ago, but continues to show more resilience in this Covid-19 recovery period than airline traffic, which is still 85 percent below normal levels, according to data released today by WingX Advance. On average, 2,800 business aircraft have been active globally each day this month, which equates to 48 percent of the average fleet normally employed.
Meanwhile, the moving seven-day daily average daily activity for business aircraft has maintained its upward momentum, rising above 7,100 flights globally on Tuesday—87 percent higher than the low point in daily operations in mid-April. Business aviation’s share of all fixed-wing activity has also doubled in the last three months, WingX said.
According to the data firm, North America is seeing the strongest recovery, with business aviation activity now recovered to 48 percent of previous-year levels. Traffic in Europe is still depressed by more than 60 percent year-over-year; Asia, down 53 percent; Africa, down more than 50 percent; South America, down 34 percent; and Oceana, down 28 percent.
Business jet operations were down by 57 percent globally so far this month, with light jets faring better and large-cabin jets worse. In fact, in North American and European markets, large-cabin jet flying dipped 65 percent, while light and very light jet operations slid 51 percent and 46 percent, respectively.
WingX said the busiest business aircraft airports worldwide this month are in Florida, Arizona and Texas. Business aircraft movements at Florida’s West Palm Beach Airport are down only 25 percent so far this month, but traffic at the New York-area Teterboro Airport—typically the busiest airport for business aviation—is off by 81 percent year-over-year. In Europe, the busiest airports in May are Paris Le Bourget, Zurich, and Geneva. In the rest of the world, the busiest are São Paolo and Hong Kong.
“Business aviation is clearly coming back faster than scheduled aviation, with business jets now regaining some activity as well as turboprops. The U.S. Is the key market with Florida, Texas, Arizona leading the recovery,” said WingX managing director Richard Koe. “We should see an acceleration in the recovery in the next couple of months as lockdown measures get released and forward bookings get flown. The industry will be hoping that pent-up demand gets released in time for at least some of the summer season.”