Research reveals robustness of business aviation sector

posted on 27th October 2020 by Eddie Saunders
Research reveals robustness of business aviation sector

Analysis of industry data(1) by Colibri Aircraft, the private jet broker which specialises in the marketing, resale and purchase of pre-owned private aircraft, and the business aviation data company WINGX revealing there were 68,525 business aviation flights in Europe in August, which despite the COVID-19 crisis, was 2.8% higher than the same month last year. 

For the period 1st September to 15th October there were 85,520 business aviation flights, which was only 10.3% lower than the same period in 2019.  When compared to a fall in commercial airline traffic of over 50%, it shows the relative strength of the business aviation sector and highlights how it is a rare bright spot in an otherwise gloomy aviation industry. (2)

Colibri Aircraft believes the current robustness of the business aviation sector in Europe is down to a number of factors including the commercial aviation sector offering fewer flights and routes, a reluctance from many people to fly with other passengers, and since August, Governments announcing new quarantine rules for those visiting certain countries which resulted in thousands of people rushing home to beat these new restrictions.

Of the top 10 largest European markets for business aviation, Russia, Turkey, Switzerland and Germany are leading the way in terms of robustness. In August, Russia saw a 25.6% increase in business aircraft departures when compared to the same month last year, and the corresponding figures for Turkey, Switzerland and Germany are 16.8%, 14.1% and 13.1% respectively. 

For the period 1st September to 15th October 2020, Austria, Turkey, Greece and Russia all saw an increase in their number of business aviation departures when compared to the same period last year.

Richard Koe, Managing Director, WINGX said: “Business aviation demand has been considerably more resilient than commercial airline activity throughout the pandemic, with a really strong rebound in last summer as travel restrictions got lifted. That recovery has relapsed this Autumn as leisure demand has tailed off and the business traveller stays home but the latter could pick-up as economies recover The advantages of flying private, notably hygiene-control and convenience, should continue to draw some customers from the airlines.”

Oliver Stone, Managing Director, Colibri Aircraft said: “it is encouraging to see a level of robustness in Europe’s business aviation market.  Although we expect to see significant peaks and troughs in the number of flights over the next few weeks and months, the sector is in a stronger position than commercial aviation to mount a sustainable recovery.

“COVID-19 has also resulted in an increase in enquiries from potential first-time buyers of business aircraft as the crisis has help raise the profile and benefits of flying privately amongst those who can afford to do this.  For many business owners and executives, travel is a necessary component to keep their business running.  The use of private aviation is now often the only way to continue to travel and keep their companies operational.”

Importantly, Business aviation in Europe employs around 335,750 people directly and indirectly, and the value of its economic output is around €71 billion a year, (3), so the relative strength of the business aviation sector has been an important driver of job retention in an otherwise difficult time for the aviation industry as a whole.

CountryNumber of business aircraft departures in August 2020Percentage change in business aircraft departures in August 2020 when compared to August 2019
France10,746+2.4%
Germany7,626+13.1%
UK7,493-13.1%
Italy6,994-3.6%
Spain4,635-9.8%
Switzerland3,936+14.1%
Turkey2,983+16.8%
Russia2,916+25.6%
Greece2,804-9.3%
Austria1,901+6.2%
CountryNumber of business aircraft departures 1st September 2020 to 15th October 2020Percentage change in business aircraft departures – 01/09/20 – 15/10/20 compared to 01/09/19 – 15/10/19
France13,244-19.4%
Germany11,844-4.9%
UK9,847-27.6%
Italy8,612-1.4%
Spain4,245-30.4%
Switzerland4,847-12.5%
Turkey3,654+53%
Russia3,873+18.7%
Greece2,237+0.6%
Austria2,601+3.4%