EBACE2024: Analysts Optimistic About Bizav Growth

29 May 2024

Data analysts at the 2024 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE2024) expressed confidence that the industry will continue to grow during the second half of 2024, despite perceived supply chain and workforce challenges.

“Our outlook is very optimistic – and by that, I mean, we’re realistic. GAMA [the General Aviation Manufacturing Association] projects business jet deliveries are going to be up 13% this year – 3% more, the year after,” said Rolland Vincent, creator/director at JetNet iQ and president of Rolland Vincent Associates. “On the turboprop side, we’re also seeing a very good year as we come out of the worst of the COVID aftermath and we get our supply chains together and get our people working, productive and trained.”

Regarding traffic, global business aviation flights from January to April 2024 increased by 1.2% year-over-year, said WingX CEO Richard Koe. But worldwide year-to-date traffic from January to April has dipped 1.5%. “So far this year, the North American market is down by 2.5% percent and the European market is down by 1.9%,” Koe said. “Overall, there were 27,000 fewer sectors flown in jets and props globally this year, compared to 2023.”

Connecting Communities

The European data also pointed to a correlation between new users in business aviation and the erosion of scheduled airline connectivity. If that trend continues, the analysts said it could yield valuable industry benefits.

In fact, an analysis of the number of European business aviation connections compared with connections available from European regional airlines pointed to business aviation’s resilience and continued value in linking communities together.

“We looked at all the business aviation connections and there were six times as many,” said Koe. “That gives you an idea that the industry is doing a lot of good here to underline how important we are in terms of connectivity.”

Short European business jet trips of up to 500 nm, and between 500 nm and 1,000 nm have increased beyond pre-pandemic levels. “But the longer trips, they haven’t recovered compared to 2019,” Koe said. “That says a lot about Russia essentially being excluded from European bizjet traffic.”

Global Demand for Charter

Demand for branded charter flights in May 2024 is expected to be above 2023 levels, said Harry Clarke, head of insight and analytics for Avinode Group. “That’s a reasonably positive development on the demand space, considering how much more competitive charter services are now, compared to 2022 when the amount of charter demand was through the roof.”

Fleet Growth

Global data for business aviation fleets shows the largest fleet operators and single-tail operators are seeing strong growth in 2024. Single tails showed a steep year-over-year increase of 18.1%. “The biggest fleets are increasing utilization per aircraft, and they’re seeing larger overall activity,” Koe said. “The one-tail fleets are also seeing increased activity, although utilization is drifting.”

Focusing on Europe, Vincent said, “The fleet is growing at three times the growth of Europe’s gross domestic product. We don’t see that in any other region of the world.”

Inventory and Deliveries

Inventory of business jets for sale is seeing a return to a “more normal market,” according to the data. “We’re talking about a rebalancing of the market,” Koe said. “And what we’re seeing here is inventory around 7.5% of jets worldwide are for sale. We expected this to come back up.”

On bizjet deliveries, WingX projects the market will increase this year by double digits. “Part of that is pent-up demand,” Koe said. “Part of it is from the industry getting certified on some new programs with firm order backlogs.”

Supply Chain Perceptions

The data also showed post-pandemic supply chain troubles have inhibited production, services and resources so far in 2024, but – with some exceptions – supply chain pressures appear to be easing. Nonetheless, results of a JetNet iQ survey of 439 owners and operators in 49 countries results points to a perception that the supply chain recovery is among their biggest challenges. Also high on the list of perceived challenges: attracting and retaining talent.