European business aviation suffers a setback in September 2013


European business aviation activity declines in September 2013 to make growth in August look like a blip.
Cessna Citation Mustang

Cessna’s Citation Mustang was the “standout success” of September 2013, as other business jet models experienced declines in Europe (Photo: Cessna).

European business aviation suffered another setback in September 2013, as activity once again declined, following a rare growth month in August.

According to WINGX Advance, departures fell back to -2.1 per cent and flights hours were down to -1.3 per cent. Charter activity and private flights declined by 2.8 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively and contributed to a 3 per cent overall decrease for the European market when compared with same period in 2012.

This will come as sobering news to European readers, particularly as it comes so soon after the European Business Aviation Association’s report that European business aviation grew in August for the first time in 22 months.

“The August year-on-year growth looks like a blip with September resuming Europe’s 3 per cent negative trend in 2013 and reflecting the still uncertain-state of the economy, said Richard Koe, manging director of WINGX Advance. “But there is evidently a top-end growth niche, where demand for ULR [ultra-long-range] jets grew 18 per cent, and in the mid-size and light jet sectors there is clearly a customer migration towards the super mid-size segment (notably the Challenger 300) and very light jet (especially the Citation Mustang).”

Wingx September 2013 departures

WINGX Advance’s data from 2008-2013.

The “standout success” of the Citation Mustang – up 6 per cent year-on-year and 10 per cent in charter flights – could represent a change in fortune for Cessna, which announced in April 2013 that it was slowing-down production of the Citation Mustang, along with the CJ2, CJ3 and CJ4, following a declining demand for light jets in the first quarter of the year.

In the wider market, WINGX noted some “patchy growth in southern Europe, Benelux, Scandinavia and Baltics” throughout September, but said “leading western European markets lost heavily” including Germany, Switzerland, the UK and France.

Northolt Jet Centre, which is owned by London City Airport Jet Centre, moved into top 20 busiest business aviation airports in Europe, as result of a 16 per cent year-on-year increase and a year-to-date rise of 35 per cent.

Le Bourget (France) experienced the biggest decline in year-on-year flights, while Bodrum (Turkey) and Auvergne (France) were major gainers.