European Recovery

European Recovery

PC 24 Geneva

Latest figures from the WingX Business Aviation Monitor show strong recovery for business jet demand in Europe in 2017 – despite a drop in December activity.

There was a 1% decline in year-on-year business aviation activity in December, with a large dip in owner flights, mainly in piston and prop aircraft. However, jet activity was up 6% year-on-year. Overall, 2017 ended with 4% growth in business aviation flights compared to 2016.

The slowdown in December was mainly in Western Europe, with fewer departures from France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. Flight activity was up in the UK and Spain, but Germany contributed the largest growth.

“December’s flight activity was slightly down but that appears to have been weather-related, mainly affecting owner-piloted light aircraft activity,” says WingX.

“Business jets continued to fly more, with double-digit growth across light, super midsize and large jets when it comes to charter operations. Overall, 2017 was clearly a strong recovery year for business jet demand in Europe, and we expect to see more of the same in 2018, as long as the underlying operating models can sustain high availability of aircraft at competitive prices.”

Poland contributed the largest YOY growth, with departures up by 25%. Greece had largest relative gains in 2017, up 14% versus 2016.

Although flight activity was down 2% in Western Europe in December, it was up 3% for the year. Southern Europe was up 7% in 2017 compared to 2016. Annual arrivals from North America were up 4%. Inbound flights from the Middle East were flat in 2017.

Private business aviation flights were down 7% in December, ending the year 1% up on 2016, although declining in business jet activity. Owner flights have increased in the Super-Light segment, but have declined substantially in other segments.


The airport pair with most growth in December was Geneva to Farnborough. Despite overall drop in flights in France, departures out of Le Bourget and Nice were well up, mainly in jet activity. Farnborough, Nice and Biggin Hill contributed the most growth in activity in 2017. All top 20 airports had some growth compared to 2016.

London remained the city with the most departures, with 3,979 in December – a rise of 6% year-on-year. Paris was second with 2,063 departures (up 11%), while Stockholm saw the sharpest increase at 30% (503 departures).