Global Business Aviation Starts 2024 with Year-on-Year Drop in Activity

Increased first-week traffic in Europe and the Middle East is offset by declines elsewhere.

Dallas, United States – November 12, 2022: Gulfstream and Dassault Falcon private jets airplanes at Dallas Love Field airport (DAL) in the United States.

While 2024 began with an uptick for global business aviation following the holiday period, results for the first week of the year declined compared with the same period in 2023, according to WingX’s weekly Global Market Tracker report.

Business jet traffic rose by 9 percent from the last week of 2023 to the first week of 2024, however, the recent results were 3 percent lower than in the same period a year ago. Turboprop traffic in the first week was slightly lower than a year earlier—about 0.1 percent. Combined Part 135 and Part 91 operations were 2 percent lower than a year ago. Meanwhile, scheduled airline traffic rose 12 percent from the first week of 2023, while cargo traffic decreased by 9 percent.

“Global business aviation activity has started the new year slightly behind comparable 2023, which itself was a rebound on locked-down January 2022. The U.S. leisure market appears to be relatively weaker during the recent holiday period,” said Richard Koe, managing director at WingX. “In Europe, the U.K. and France markets were well back on last year, but this was offset overall by strong activity in Turkey and Spain.”

In North America, business jet traffic rose by 7 percent compared with the final week of 2023 but declined by 5 percent year on year. Over the last four weeks, business jet activity is trending 3 percent lower than a year ago. Among the jet categories, super midsize and ultralong-range jets began the year 2 percent ahead year on year while super light and very light jets declined more than 10 percent, WingX said.

Looking at the U.S. business jet market reveals a clear spike in demand on January 2 due to travelers returning from holiday destinations. Traffic at the top airports reflected this notable increase with second-ranked Palm Beach (KPBI) in Florida handling just seven fewer flights than top-ranked Teterboro (KTEB) in Jersey. Miami-Opa Locka (KOPF) and Naples (KPAF) in Florida, and Van Nuys (KVNY) in California round out the top five U.S. business jet airports.

WingX said Florida is “easily the busiest U.S. bizjet state so far this month,” and New York is the top destination for those flying from Florida airports. The Embraer Phenom 300 logged the most flights out of Florida airports, while the Challenger 300 and 350 series flew the most hours.

In Europe, business jet activity increased 3 percent year on year. France surpassed 1,000 business jet flights in the first week of 2024, making it the top market, though activity was 3 percent below last year. The second-ranked U.K.’s activity fell 6 percent year on year, while business jet activity in Spain rose 26 percent.

In Asia, business jet activity declined 2 percent from a year ago, while activity rose 2 percent in the Middle East year on year. Demand for business jets has been strong in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar at the start of the year, with an increase in traffic from a year ago, while activity in Israel in the first quarter is down 32 percent year on year.

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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