WINGX: If SETops continue to grow, the landscape will be different in a decade
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Small jets and turboprops are powering the recovery of the market, Richard Koe, Managing Director of WINGX highlighted last week.

During the first half of 2017, the UK saw a 4% growth in flights year-on-year, registering 340,000 IFR flights in total, he told delegates at SETops. This marks the first time since 2009 the business aviation market has grown, with August 2017 the busiest Europe has ever seen.

These smaller aircraft types, which have been becoming more prolific since 2015, now make up over half of the 15 busiest aircraft in Europe, with Pilatus PC-12s, Mustangs and Twinstars seeing 10% growth this year alone and the Embraer Phenom 300 a staggering 50% growth.

Most of this growth, revealed Koe, is coming from charter, Part 135 and AOC operations, compared with stagnating owner activity. For example, private aviation operations were flat or declining in 2Q17 on both sides of the Atlantic.

According to figures from WINGX, turboprop and piston activity accounts for 40% of overall activity in Europe, but it varies significantly from country to country. While in France and Germany the market makes up 50% of the total business aviation activity, in the UK, Italy and Switzerland 70% of business aviation flights are still carried out by jets.

WINGX Managing Director, Richard Koe

Peaking in the summer season, turboprops and pistons are responsible for operating up to 5,000 flights a month, and growing 3% so far this year. Koe estimates 12% of these flights are AOC operations and 12% are for demo or training purposes. Furthermore, unique active tail signs active each month are peaking at over 4,000, although on average each aircraft has a pretty small work rate, totalling approximately 120-130 hours activity a year.

Singles account for 5,000 flights a month - only 10% on an AOC

Specifically, single engine turboprop aircraft operations carried out by Cessna Caravans, Pilatus PC-12s and Daher TBM 900s and 930s have seen a 15-20% year-on-year growth this summer, and a 10% increase in flights for the year-to-date. Combined, they account for up to 5,000 flights per month with 350 tails active (only 7% of which are AOC operations).

Koe confirmed the flight patterns of these aircraft are similar to very light jets, with 75-80% lasting under one and a half hours, but their daily and weekly seasonality differs.

Unlike business jets, which are most active between 12pm midday and 4pm between Monday and Friday through week, turboprops and pistons are more staggered in terms of hour-to-hour activity, and with only a small minority of operations at the weekend.

While Koe admitted itís the King Air 200 which has seen the most growth in the charter market this year, up 16% or 1500 flights more than in 2016, he said PC-12 charter flights have doubled, with almost 800 flights operated since the new authorisation came into place.

If these figures continue to grow, itís possible the business aviation landscape will look entirely different in a decade, he concluded.

Summer charter demand keeps the market growing

In further news, there were 79,280 business aviation departures in September according to WINGX`s latest monthly Business Aviation Monitor. The figure represents a 2.9% increase YOY, taking the YTD trend to 3.6%. Activity in September 2017 was still 4.4% behind the pre-crisis peak in September 2008.

Read and download the September Report

BlueSky Business Aviation News | 5th October 2017 | Issue #434