Business aircraft flying is surging above pre-pandemic levels in some places

A Dassault Falcon 2000LX lands Florida’s Orlando Executive Airport. Year-to-date business aviation traffic in Florida is up 22 percent over pre-pandemic levels in 2019. (Photo: David McIntosh/AIN)

Business aircraft flying is surging above pre-pandemic levels in some places, with the U.S. charter market taking the lead and Florida the hub, according to data released today by WingX Advance. Demand in Western Europe has also increased in response to the lifting of some Covid-19 travel restrictions, while flight activity from Eastern Europe to Russia and the Middle East is “busier than ever,” the company added. “All told, the business aviation charter market looks to be well teed up for this summer,” noted WingX managing director Richard Koe.

In North America, month-to-date activity is down by only 3.5 percent versus the comparable period in May 2019. Meanwhile, year-to-date (YTD) flying in the region is 9 percent lower than during the same span in 2019, with the U.S. accounting for the bulk of the activity with 1.2 million sectors flown this year—up 40 from a year ago but lagging by 7 percent from 2019.

Florida has extended its dominance as the busiest state in the U.S., with the 177,000 business aviation departures YTD there surging 62 percent ahead of last year and 22 percent above the same period in 2019. Colorado has maintained a small lead YTD over pre-pandemic trends, while Arizona is up 12 percent from 2019. Notably, New York has made a “rapid recovery” YTD and shows a 1 percent deficit versus 2019.

In Europe, month-to-date business aircraft activity fell by 8 percent compared with May 2019, but is up 144 percent from a year ago. The market has risen 26 percent versus the first five months of last year and has closed within 20 percent of comparable 2019 levels, said WingX. Western Europe has seen the weakest regional recovery, with the UK still 19 percent behind last year and almost 50 percent off from 2019.

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