(Brussels, Belgium, May 20, 2008) -- The growth in business aviation in Europe looks set to continue for the foreseeable future, with the number of jets rising from 1,900 today to around 4,000 by 2017, according to a new study released today by EUROCONTROL at the EBACE 2008 show in Geneva.
The study 'More to the point: Business Aviation in Europe in 2007' finds that between 2005 and 2007, the number of business jets on the European register rose from around 1,100 to nearly 1,900, an increase of 70%. This could rise to around 4,000 by 2017. These estimates suggest that in 2017, the number of business flights will be 4,300 a day - but if air taxi operations based on very light jets grow as expected, then there could be over 5,000 flights a day. Growth will be driven by a number of factors, including increase in fractional ownership, world economic growth and emerging international markets. Growth in Russia in particular is expected to affect Europe as their fleets travel to and from European destinations.
"The levels of growth that we are seeing provide a real challenge for airports and air traffic control across Europe," said David Marsh, Manager Forecasting and Statistics at EUROCONTROL. "Business aviation uses different airports, but flies mostly in the same densely-used airspace as the rest of the traffic. In addition, business aviation generates more and bigger unanticipated peaks of demand which puts pressure both on airports and on air traffic control. As a result, delays to business flights have increased over the last two years."
According to the study, business aviation is concentrated in six European countries. France has 16.6% of business aviation departures, the UK 13.8%, Germany 13%, Italy 10.2%, Switzerland 7.4% and Spain 6.1%, with the UK and Switzerland increasing their share in the last two years. The business aviation market is divided among over 700 operators, with only four of these having 1% of market share. The EUROCONTROL analysis finds that 80% of business aviation operators registered in Europe have fewer than five aircraft in their fleet. In the future, the number of large fleets is likely to increase as a number of operators have large orders of very light jets.
"This study underlines the changing nature of air traffic, with low-cost carriers and business aviation the main contributors to that change. Aircraft availability, airport facilities, air traffic control capacity, technology and the world's economic situation can all have an impact on this booming transport sector. Despite concerns about the world economy, this sector is set for further growth," said David Marsh.