Spain’s BizAv industry update 2019

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In a post from last year we wrote about the business aviation industry in Spain based on 2017 data provided by EBAA, the European Business Aviation Association of which Europair is member.

Recently, EBAA has published latest studies using traffic data from 2018 providing an up-to-date global overview of the BizAv industry in Europe. Let’s analyze the current situation of this sector in our country:

Between 2010 and 2018 business aviation grew consistently almost everywhere in Europe after the global financial downturn.

Spain is one of the countries that saw strongest growth (+30.8%) in BizAv traffic over the last 8 years besides Portugal, the Czech Republic and Malta.

In 2018, business aviation traffic in Spain grew by 4.3% compared with 2017, with a total of 95,735 movements (departures and arrivals). Although traffic growth slowed down in 2018 compared to the previous year, it maintains a positive trend.

Spain keeps its position among the 6 key markets with the highest volume of private flights behind France (243,015 movements), the United Kingdom (198,970 movements), Germany (186,627 movements), Italy (124,618 movements) and Switzerland (89,671 movements). These countries add up to over 70% of the total volume of private flights in Europe.

More than 60% of the total movements (55,909 movements) were private jet charters, while the remaining departures were classified as non-commercial, medical, government/military or training flights.

Compared to other European countries, Spain’s BizAv market share of 5.0% is still relatively small compared to Switzerland and France where the market share reaches 16.4% and 11.9% respectively. Domestic flights have the strongest demand with Madrid-Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca-Ibiza among the most popular routes. Other markets with a high amount of flights to/from Spain are France, UK, Germany and Italy. The demand for flights out of Europe is relatively small with Africa and America being the most important markets for intercontinental flights.

There is a huge seasonal demand for private jets during the summer months as Spain is one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in the world.

In 2018, there were 75 airports that registered BizAv traffic, 13 more than the previous year, which may indicate that private jet travel is becoming more frequent to reach secondary airports. They are usually less congested, making the travel experience more pleasant.

Palma de Mallorca, Madrid Barajas, Ibiza, Barcelona and Malaga are the airports with the highest volume of private flights in Spain. 2018 was a record year for Palma de Mallorca airport with 12,996 private flights registered, outpacing Madrid Barajas airport which until now ranked first in the list of the TOP 5. The growing demand for private flights in Mallorca is due to the island’s consolidation as a luxury tourist destination thanks to its excellent hotel, gastronomic and leisure offer attracting high network individuals and families. In addition to that, local organizations and institutions, such as Essentially Mallorca, the Spanish luxury association of which Europair is a part of,  and the Strategic Tourist Agency of the Balearic Islands (AETIB) are promoting Mallorca heavily as a luxury destination in the international market.

Compared with 2017, there are less aircraft registered in Spain totalling 127 units while the number of aircraft based in Spain remains 149 units from which we deduce that more and more aircraft registered in other European countries are used for private flights. Most of these aircraft belong to the Light Jets category which are small cabin jets, with capacity for up to 8 passengers making them ideal for short trips.

The most popular models for executive flights in Spain are  Citation Excel  (Super light jet),  King Air 200  (Turbo prop),  Citation CJ1  (Very light jet),  Citation II  (Light jet)  and Global Express  (Ultra long range jet).

The business aviation industry has a significant impact on the Spanish economy. According to EBAA estimates, it creates about 7,400 direct or indirect jobs, mainly related with Operations or Maintenance, and represents €1.38 billion in Output.