According to the latest Global Market Tracker weekly report from WingX, global business jet activity saw a resurgence in the first half of June, surpassing pre-COVID levels and outstripping cargo growth for the first time.
The report highlights that while lifestyle and occasionally necessity sustained business jet demand during the pandemic, the last few months have seen leisure boost the recovery. This is expected to accelerate through the summer, with the return of at least some business travel taking bizav utilisation to new highs in 2021 compared to 2019.
With more than 100,000 business jet flights operated so far this month, the sector represents 15% of all fixed wing movements, activity which is 12% higher than in the first half of June 2019. Meanwhile, scheduled airline activity globally is still languishing with more than 40% below pre-pandemic activity for this time of year.
The US market continues to go from strength to strength with business jet activity in the country so far this year now 1% above the same period in 2019, and the resurgence gathering pace, with the first half of June seeing 20% more business jet movements than June 2019. In Florida business jet departures are now a whopping 30% higher in 2021 than in 2019, with 160,000 departures recorded (more than 10 times the number of business jet movements in the UK) for the same period. Also worth noting is that flights between Florida and New York are up almost 70% on 2019 figures.
Meanwhile, in Europe business aviation activity is also seeing a surge with the first two weeks of June only 6% behind 2019, although overall it is trailing 2019 by 15%. Strong growth continues to be noted in business jet flights in Russia, Greece, across the Balkans and much of Eastern Europe. In Western Europe the outlier is Portugal, with flights above normal for the season.
Elsewhere business aviation activity continues to show strength in Africa, where it is currently 45% ahead of 2019 figures, South America where it is 80% ahead and in the Middle East, where it is 23% ahead of 2019 figures. WingX also notes a clear correlation between range and travel restrictions globally with domestic sectors back to where they were in 2019, whereas international business jet sectors are still down by 20% vs 2019.