This too shall pass, and a boom is no exception


Teterboro business airport was buzzing last month, with activity up 3% on November last year, according to WINGX data. But it was the outlier, with most airports in North America quieter than in the same month of 2021.

Overall business aviation dropped 2% since November 2021. Among the top 10 airports in the US, only Teterboro and Dallas Love Field were busier this November. Alongside this, midsize jets saw the largest year-on-year decrease in sectors flown, with activity down 12% since last year, only up 1% in comparison with November three years ago.

It’s the same story in Europe too, with business jet demand in the continent “unambiguously sagging” according to WINGX. For the full month of November bizjet flights fell 15% compared with last year and Europe has now seen four consecutive months of decline against 2021. The busiest European airport, Paris-Le Bourget, France, saw the largest falls in activity, with the first few days of December 28% less busy than December 2021. The worst performers in Europe were large cabin jets, which had been an area of strength for many previous months. Argus’ Traqpak activity report noted a drop of almost 40% in Europe since November last year.

December is looking quieter on all fronts, with all bizjet aircraft types starting the month with fewer flights than last year. Charter traffic is tracking just over 10% lower than last year for the first seven days of December, according to a report by Tuvoli.

But the business jet bounce passing may not be the worst thing. It could bring the industry some much-needed relief, according to Tuvoli’s president and CEO, Greg Johnson.

“In an environment where regional airlines are offering $150k signing bonuses for pilots, where the supply chain is still extremely challenged and where FBOs are closing early due to staffing issues, a pullback in demand of 10 to 15%, which is what I think we’re looking at, feels more like a relief valve than a harbinger of doom,” he says.

Although he is cautious about companies relying on new clients. “If the ‘Covid flyers’ are a significant portion of a company’s business, that would be cause for concern, because the pullback is coming primarily from this segment.”

Jay Mesinger, CEO and president, Mesinger Jet Sales thinks a bit of a cooler market is actually the perfect temperature. “Let’s see what starts to happen next quarter,” he told CJI’s Miami conference. “The days on the market will lengthen some, we’ll get a little bit more supply and we’ll get back to a healthy centre line that’s balanced.”

He added: “We can’t forget that we’re a dynamic market so we’re always shifting, but it’s about how fast it shifts, how off-guard people are when it shifts, and how predictable the shift can be.”

What goes up, must come down. And fewer flights might offer the opportunity to reset after a hectic three years.

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