COVID-19 Live Blog: March 23
Coronavirus COVID-19 is continuing to hit many industries around the world, including business aviation. There does appear to be a spike in business jet travel as passengers rush to get back before borders close, but once borders are shut, aircraft are being grounded.
Please send any news or comments to [email protected]
Main stories so far:
- Embraer puts all Brazilian employees that can’t work from home on paid leave until March 31st
- WINGX says European business aircraft flights dropped 60% over the weekend when compared to the same period last year
- IADA says that aircraft dealers are having a strong March despite the Covid-19 pandemic
Bristow and CHC helicopters launch ‘Coronacopter’ services
Helicopter operators Bristow and CHC have struck deals with offshore oil rigs to fly oil rig workers suspected of having the Coronavirus back to shore, according to Energy Voice.
Bristow Helicopters outfitted three of its S-92 helicopters to recover three workers suspected of having the coronavirus and fly them back to shore. CHC helicopters is working with Total, Shell, CNR, Taqa, Spirit Energy, Equinor and EnQuest to remove suspected and confirmed cases back onshore.
Gulfstream to its customers: “We are here to serve you”
In a statement issued to its customers, Gulfstream said that it is ready to serve its customers.
The statement continues by saying that some services may be limited temporarily whilst the company adjusts to new government health and safety recommendations.
“WE ARE HERE TO SERVE YOU. Our ongoing mission is to protect your health and well-being while providing you the information, products and services you require to complete your mission. We are evolving our processes in accordance with government recommendations to ensure your and our employees’ health and safety. As a result, some services may be limited. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.”
Flapper says international flight requests to and from Brazil jumped by 70%
Flapper, the Brazil-based business aviation marketplace, says that it has seen a 70% spike in international requests from customers either wanting to fly into or out of Brazil.
The release says that the spike has came across the first quarter of the year, although it concedes that the spike it short term, saying that it has already seen a flattening of demand for April and May.
You can read the full release below:
“Coronavirus fears, closed borders and overcrowded airports. With the influenza outbreak wreaking havoc on commercial aviation, the demand for private jet flights is ‘booming’ among both corporations and wealthy individuals. One such service provider is the charter company Flapper, which has just announced its partial Q1 2020 results. Operating in the world’s second largest business aviation market, Brazil, Flapper shares its insights into the current outlook of the local sector and highlights a spike in demand caused by Covid-19 virus outbreak.
Looking specifically at the segment of international clients flying in and out of Brazil, the number of flight requests in Q1 2020 has grown by 69%, on a Quarter-over-Quarter basis, according to the company. The value of quoted flights reached a total of R$ 62.6 million, or roughly US$ 13 million. Ultra long-range business jets and corporate airliners dominated the demand, accounting for more than 50% of all requests. Medevac flights and forced return flights from Europe, US and Peru were particularly popular among foreign brokers and corresponded to more than half of all international requests. Cuzco-to-São Paulo and Lima-to-São Paulo were the most frequently quoted international routes, while São Paulo-to-Rio de Janeiro remained the most popular domestic flight.
In a market where 99% of all general aviation flights are domestic (Brazilian Institute of Aviation, 2019), such results represent an unprecedented spike in demand, according to Paul Malicki, CEO of the company. With a steady 10% monthly growth in March for flights within Brazil, Malicki also highlights and the safe haven status that large general aviation markets represent while facing pandemic influenza threats:
The rapid boost in demand for international flights is short-term and is already flattening for the months of April and May. – reports Malicki – We’ve seen however, a steadier demand for domestic flights and everything points to a fact that general aviation will constitute one of the only options for passenger transport in the coming months. In this regard, Brazilian business aviation sector behaves in a way similar to its US equivalent, where commercial flights are poised to drop by 70-90% but business aviation remains a strong contender in the space of this spring. Such situation won’t be common in Europe or Asia, both largely dominated by international private jet flights.
With the likely closure of the popular commercial aviation link between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, business aviation might benefit itself from Corona virus outbreak. Just last week, the region’s largest airlines Gol and LATAM announced a halt in most of its operations. General aviation airports of Jacarepaguá (Rio de Janeiro) and Campo de Marte (São Paulo) continue operating as usual. The other trend that the company observed is a rapid spike in helicopter flight request. Paul Malicki says, In a typical month we see around 30-40% of our revenues come from helicopter charter. In March we’re already at 50% and counting. We can attribute such sudden growth to ongoing Coronavirus fears, especially among foreign clients looking to reach the airports in a more convenient manner, continues Malicki.
The statistics published by the global sourcing platform Avinode support the thesis of the positive relationship between general aviation and large domestic markets during similar influenza crises. Whereas the global charter requests in March ’20 were clearly ahead of last March (roughly 70% YoY), demand for May is already 16% behind its last year’s records. At the same time, the domestic US flight requests are up by circa 120% in March, 57% in April (on a year-on-year basis) and a few percentage points above for May YoY results.
The expected drop in international private jet flights in April is a mere result of the preventive actions undertaken by numerous countries in Latin America (and beyond). Some governments, including those of Peru, Colombia and Venezuela, announced a total suspension of all international travel, including general aviation flights. Panama, which will tighten the border starting this Sunday (22/3), has left Medevac flights unrestricted, hence becoming a preferred hub for long-haul flights in the region. Mexico and numerous Caribbean nations are currently reluctant to suspend flights from Coronavirus-affected nations and continue receiving private jet passengers.”
NBAA webinar on planning for ATC disruption
The National Business Aviation Administration (NBAA) will hold a free webinar on Tuesday, March 24th, looking at ways of planning for times that ATC towers are closed.
The webinar follows incidents in the US last week, where ATC towers were closed temporarily after staff tested positive for coronavirus. Temporary closures included Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and New York’s busiest international airport, JFK.
The webinar will be moderated by Steve Brown, COO< NBAA, and former FAA associate Administrator for Air Traffic Services and will include Heidi Williams, NBAA, Director, Air Traffic Services and Infrastructure, as well as David Villegas, specialist with NBAA, air traffic services, and a former air traffic controller
You can register for the webinar directly by clicking here
Jetcraft on whether now is the right time to buy an aircraft
In a post in the company’s JetStream blog, Peter Antonenko, Jetcraft COO, answers questions on the coronavirus, and more specifically, the effect it will have on private aviation.
Overall, Antonenko says that now is a great time to buy, as long as people are in a position to do so. This, he says, is because right now there are good quality aircraft coming onto the market, interest rates are low, and bonus depreciation still applies.
You can read the full post on the Jetcraft website, or by clicking here.
Mixed bag for business aviation stocks as markets open
Stocks in companies that manufacture business jets had mixed fortunes on Monday shortly after the US stock market opened.
As of 10:14 EDT, the stock price at each of the companies was:
General Dynamics, the parent company of Gulfstream – 4.39%
Textron, parent of company of Cessna, +1.08
It should, however, be noted that business aviation is only a part of the companies.
In 2018, Gulfstream accounted for 23% of General Dynamic’s sales and an impressive 33% of profits. Textron Aviation made up 36% of Textron’s turnover. Executive Jets accounted for 22.3% of Embraer’s sales
Malta Airport International closes to all inbound commercial flights
Malta Airport International (MAI) closed on Friday (March 20th) to all inbound commercial flights, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. MIA now allows only cargo, humanitarian and repatriation flights to land.
MAI CEO, Alan Borg, said it was: “a dark day for the local aviation industry and all stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to ensure the industry’s growth and success over the past years”.
The Malta Business Aviation Association (MBAA) has released a statement on Covid-19th. “The business aviation sector in Malta is crucial to Malta’s recent success in growing its emerging aviation sector and such needs to be safeguarded,” according to the statement. “The MBAA has stated that it will be at forefront of making the voice of the business aviation sector heard with government and local authorities and that any relief packages that are to be offered are sufficient and assist business aviation operators survival in these tough business conditions which have resulted from the curtailment of flights all around the world.”
The Maltese government yesterday (March 22nd) published a list of shops which should close, as part of a series of legal notices. The notices also cover the closure of restaurants, bars, gyms. Anyone who fails to abide by new regulations will be guilty of an offence and, on conviction, be liable to pay a penalty of €3,000 “for every occasion that the order for closure of public places open to the public is breached”.
“The business aviation sector in Malta is crucial to the Malta’s recent success …”, according to MBAA.
Brian Foley: business aviation in a word, unsettled
Summing up the state of the business aviation industry in one word. Analyst, Brian Foley, said “unsettled”. Foley remarked that Covid-19 is having a direct impact upon the industry, citing double digit decline in European business jet activity and the furlough of 7000 employees by Textron. There is no telling how long this pandemic will go on for, Foley said he seen some estimates of six to eight weeks for peak in the US but some as much as several months. Foley said whether the pandemic is a short or longer term event could have massive sway on the overall impact.
Foley told Corporate Jet Investor: “The thing is, we just don’t know where the end is. You know, where things come back to some semblance of normalcy. I’ve seen estimates for at least in the US to wait six to eight weeks for the peak. And then I’ve seen things in the order of, you know, several months. Say depending if it’s a shorter-term event or a longer-term event, it will have a huge impact on where this thing could go in the more immediate term.”
IADA reschedules AGM for September
The International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) said this morning that its AGM will now take place in September.
In a notice sent to its members, the association said that the AGM will now take place on September 28th and September 29th in Monarch Beach, California.
As a result of the rapidly evolving Coronavirus outbreak, and based on the guidance of federal and local health officials, IADA is postponing our 2020 Annual Meeting in Monarch Beach, CA.
Our Annual Meeting will now take place on Monday, September 28th and Tuesday, September 29th with a full agenda to follow.
Appreciating how closely these dates fall to NBAA-BACE, IADA will NOT have a meeting at NBAA-BACE in Orlando. We will, however, host the joint IADA/NAFA cocktail party on Monday evening, October 5th.
Also impacted by this change in schedule is our inaugural IADA static display of aircraft, which is now postponed until 2021.
The schedule changes outlined above will allow your Association to reduce its annual meeting expenses, deliver the same valuable content and networking opportunities, and avoid a potentially costly dispute with the hotel.
We appreciate your patience and support, wish you good health and safety during these challenging times, and look forward to seeing all of you later this fall.”
IADA says that aircraft dealers are having a strong March despite the Covid-19 pandemic
The International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) says that its member companies are seeing strong activity in March, despite the coronavirus outbreak.
In a press release, the association said that 54 aircraft transactions were completed between March 2nd and March 20th and that there are another 120 deals still in the pipeline.
“Amid the healthcare, travel and economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, IADA dealers have facilitated the sale of an unprecedented number of used aircraft in a short time. From March 2 to March 20, dealers accredited by the International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) have bought or sold 54 aircraft and have more than 120 additional aircraft under contract, subject to closing.
“Clearly, there is a strong push to make deals in advance of the challenging uncertainties that are ahead of us all,” said IADA Executive Director Wayne Starling. “But IADA-accredited dealers continue to briskly lead the previously owned aircraft industry with many transactions during what was previously forecast to be a slow sales month reinforced by their strong reputation for integrity, no matter how difficult the times.”
Starling noted that with international and national travel restrictions in place and more curbs forecast to hopefully contain the virus, the pace of transactions is very likely to slow as approvals and regulatory obligations take longer to achieve. However, a changing economic landscape could signal a further shift in individuals and companies that choose to sell or buy depending on their evolving business and travel needs.
Key to IADA’s sales activity has been the organization’s exclusive search portal, AircraftExchange.com, which currently lists more than 500 aircraft for sale, from heavy jets to smaller aircraft. It has become the go to source for the best aircraft represented by the most trusted dealers in the industry.
The 54 aircraft which have changed hands in the recent 18-day period facilitated by IADA dealers are listed below:
AUGUSTA A109S / BEECHCRAFT 1900D; King Air 200; King Air 250; King Air 300; King Air B200 (2); King Air C90B; King Air C90GTx / BOMBARDIER Challenger 300 (4); Challenger 350 (2); Challenger 604 (2); Challenger 605; Global 5000 (2); Learjet 60; Learjet 60XR; Learjet 75 (2) / CESSNA Citation CJ; Citation CJ1; Citation CJ3 (3); Citation Excel; Citation M2 (2); Citation Mustang; Citation Ultra; Citation X+; Citation XLS+; Citation Bravo; Citation SII; Grand Caravan EX; / DAHER-SOCATA TBM 910 / DASSAULT Falcon 2000EX; Falcon 2000EX EASy; Falcon 900EX (2) / EMBRAER Phenom 300 (2); Phenom 300E / EPIC E1000 / GULFSTREAM G150; G280 (2); G450 (2) G550; G650 / HAWKER 1000A; 4000; 400XP; 800XP; 900XP (2) / NEXTANT 400XTi / PILATUS PC-12 NG; PC-12 NGXs (7); PC-24 / PIPER M600; Navajo Chieftain / QUEST Kodiak Amphib / TWIN COMMANDER 1000; 690B.
Aircraft that are under contract through IADA dealers and pending sale are listed here:
BEECHCRAFT 1900D; King Air 350 (2); King Air 350i (3); King Air 250, King Air B200 (3); Premier 1A / BELL 429, 206B3 (2) / BOEING BBJ2 / BOMBARDIER CRJ-200ER (2) Challenger 300 (6); Challenger 350 (4); Challenger 601 (4); Challenger 604; Challenger 605 (4); Challenger 650 (2); Global 5000 (2); Global 6000 (4); Global 7500 (2); Global Express (2); Global XRS; Learjet 36A; Learjet 45 (4); Learjet 60; Learjet 31A; Learjet 40; Learjet 45 (4); Learjet 45XR (2); Learjet 60SE; Learjet 60XR; Learjet 75 / CESSNA 206; 414, Citation Bravo; Citation CJ2; Citation CJ2+; Citation CJ3; Caravan, Citation Encore (2); Citation Excel (3); Citation Jet 525; Citation S550; Citation Sovereign Citation Sovereign+; Citation X; Citation XL (2) Citation XLS+; Excel / CIRRUS SR22TN / DASSAULT FALCON Falcon 2000 (2); Falcon 2000EX EASy (2); Falcon 2000EXy; Falcon 2000LX (2); Falcon 50; Falcon 50EX (2); Falcon 7X (7); Falcon 900DX / DE HAVILLAND Beaver DHC-2T (2) / EMBRAER Legacy 600 (3); Phenom 100 (5); Phenom 300 (4) / EUROCOPTER AS350B3 / GULFSTREAM G-IV; G-IV SP (5); G150 (3); G280 (2); G450 (2); G550 (8); G600; G650 / HAWKER 4000 (2); 800XP (3) / PILATUS PC-12 NG (3); PC-24 / PIPER M500; Meridian / TWIN COMMANDER 690B.”
London’s Biggin Hill Airport is fully operational
London’s Biggin Hill Airport is still fully operational and is open for all flights.
An image on the airport website says “We are a designated UK Port of Entry, offering longer opening hours and plenty of ramp parking and hangar space.”
Clicking the image takes users directly to the UK’s government’s latest advice on how to deal with coronavirus.
European business jet flights plummet 60% year-on-year
According to a tweet by Germany-based business aviation consultancy WINGX Advance, business aircraft flights in Europe dropped by 60% over the weekend when compared to the same weekend last year.
#COVID19 business aviation flights in Europe declined precipitously over weekend, >60% vs same dates YOY, in line w airline schedules.
— WINGX Advance (@wingxbizav) March 23, 2020
Embraer puts all Brazilian employees that can’t work from home on paid leave
Embraer said that all of its employees who are based in Brazil that cannot work remotely, will be placed on paid leave until March 31st.
The new measures, which it says its put in place to protect its employees from coronavirus, will affect all aspects of the business.
Embraer manufactures the fuselages for most of its executive jets in Brazil, then send them to Melbourne Florida for completing.
The company said it is currently assessing the global situation and will put in place similar measures in other countries it operates in if it needs to.
PrivateFly is seeing significant short notice demand
In a post on the company’s website, Privatfly said that it has seen significant short notice demand and that the majority of demand was from people trying to get home to their families.
“We’re currently seeing a significant rise in demand for short notice on-demand private jet charter, relating to the Coronavirus, or COVID-19.
Clients looking to take a private flight between a variety of global destinations. Most are requests to fly as soon as possible (within 1-5 days) and the majority are people flying home to their families.
Fulfilling requests is certainly becoming more challenging in the last few days, both in terms of operational restrictions and in securing aircraft.
Of course private jets must adhere to the same government travel directives as airlines and we cannot fulfil all of the requested routes due to passenger restrictions and border controls. Some operators and owners are not taking on certain routes, which is limiting supply of aircraft.
But being more agile and reactive than airlines, our industry is able to operate last minute flights – within what’s operationally possible.
Travel and border restrictions are increasingly being put in place but we are doing everything we can to keep passengers moving, back home or wherever they need to reach.
At PrivateFly we are taking this crisis situation extremely seriously. Our Safety Officers in both Europe and the US are working closely with our teams and our operator suppliers, so that we can continue to keep clients moving as much as we possibly can, within the travel restrictions that are increasingly being out in place – and while taking every precaution to protect the safety and health of both passengers and crews.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued a revised Safety Information Bulletin outlining recommendations for aircraft operators, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading, including additional cleaning protocols, and operational recommendations for how to handle and contain any suspected cases.
Operational protocols are changing very rapidly and our cross-functional team of specialists is meeting twice daily to review the latest data released by governments, health and aviation authorities.”
Netjets updates travel restrictions and precautions
NetJets has updated the list of countries that it has suspended travel to and from, as well as listing the countries that it will look at on a case-by-case basis.
There are three countries that it has completely suspended operations to, they are Mainland China, Italy and South Korea.
The fractional operator is warning against non-essential travel to Hong Kong, Singapore, Europe, Canada and the US.
You can see the full list of countries, as well as the other precautions it is taking, by clicking here to visit the company’s website.
You can contact any of our journalists by clicking the initials at the end of each story. Alternatively, please use any of the links below:
AB – Alex Baldwin – [email protected]
AD – Alud Davies – [email protected]
AW – Alasdair Whyte – [email protected]
MS – Mike Stones – [email protected]
YK – Yuvan Kumar – [email protected]
YM – Yves Le Marquand – [email protected]