General Aviation Market in Europe – Growth, Trends, Impact of COVID-19 and Forecast (2022)

The European general aviation market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.15% during the forecast period (2022 – 2027). The aviation sector in the European region has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

New York, 07 Feb. 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — announces the publication of the report “Europe General Aviation Market – Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 – 2027)” –
Like scheduled services, non-scheduled operations also decreased significantly in 2020 (business aviation decreased by around 29%), which affected general aviation aircraft deliveries. However, in 2021, demand for charter and private travel has increased significantly and deliveries have reached pre-COVID-19 levels.

Demand for charter and private travel increased as travelers who could afford private travel abandoned commercial flights for the perceived safety and convenience of private travel in the region. Most of the countries in Europe have opened tourist hotspots for vaccinated travelers resulting in a rebound in tourism activities in 2021. This increase in travel and tourism in the region is expected to propel the growth of the market in the coming years .

In addition, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has undertaken various initiatives to promote general aviation activities in the region. These measures are expected to alleviate the majority of the traditional challenges faced by general aviation operators in Europe, thereby contributing to the growth of the market studied.

Companies are investing in the development and certification of next-generation aircraft models with enhanced functionality to attract potential customers. Aircraft OEMs are focused on developing fuel-efficient aircraft engines and designs to comply with stringent emission standards across Europe. The advent of new models is likely to increase the competition among the existing players in the market and the availability of options for the customers, thereby driving the growth of the general aviation market in the region.

Main market trends

The business jet segment is expected to experience the strongest growth

The business jet segment of the European general aviation market currently dominates the market. It is expected to maintain its dominance over the forecast period, mainly due to the relatively higher deliveries of business jets and their higher cost compared to other types of general aviation aircraft. The utilization rate of business jets in Europe decreased by 29.3% in 2020 compared to 2019. However, commercial activities increased significantly in 2021 compared to 2020 due to a significant growth in the flight activity to leisure destinations. Additionally, growth has not been consistent throughout the year as several months in 2021 have seen demand decline from 2019 levels. This is expected to improve in 2022 with the opening of more roads. In Europe, deliveries of new business jets declined in 2020 and increased again in 2021, with the Pilatus PC-24 and Bombardier Global 7500 aircraft being the best-selling business jets in 2021. Europe is a major market for charter service providers. These suppliers maintain a large fleet of business jets to fly to North America, the Middle East and Africa. According to major charter service providers in Europe, demand increased significantly towards the end of 2021 and managed to exceed pre-pandemic traffic levels in 2019. Business aviation traffic was around 20-30% higher than 2019 since August 2021. Due to such demand, aircraft charter service companies are expanding their fleets to meet the growing demand. For example, in July 2021, Flexjet, part of the Directional Aviation family, received an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) for Malta as part of its expansion into the European region. The aircraft operator increased its fleet in Europe by 40% in the first half of 2021. Such developments are expected to boost the business jet segment of the market during the forecast period.

UK is expected to see the highest growth over the forecast period

The UK is expected to experience the highest growth in the general aviation market in Europe over the forecast period. The post-Brexit business aviation scenario has changed and provided an opportunity for government agencies, industry players and associations to work together to improve the business aviation environment in the country. Business aviation demand has recovered to some extent and the number of new owners entering the market has increased. With the increased demand for business aviation, new companies are expanding their presence in the country. In this regard, Eclipse Air Charter announced in October 2020 that the company had opened a new international headquarters in Mayfair, London, due to increased domestic tourism demand. In the coming years, the company plans to expand its presence in the European region. Aircraft operators are also expanding their fleets of business jets and helicopters. For example, in May 2021, Yorkshire Air Ambulance announced that it would be replacing its two existing helicopters with a new H145 D3 model. Of the two new helicopters, the first is expected to arrive in Yorkshire in the spring of 2023, the second in the summer of 2023. Additionally, the UK is expected to begin rolling out its electric air taxis during the forecast period. Such developments are expected to drive the growth of the UK general aviation market.

Competitive landscape

The European general aviation market is dominated by players such as Bombardier Inc., General Dynamics Corporation (via Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation), Embraer SA, Leonardo SpA and Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. Companies are investing in the development of next-generation aircraft models with features to attract potential new customers. In this regard, in May 2021, Dassault Aviation unveiled the Falcon 10X, an all-new Falcon jet with a range of 7,500 nautical miles at Mach 0.85. According to the company, the aircraft has the largest cabin in its class and can accommodate four-cabin areas of equal length. The company also allows its customers to customize the interior like an expanded dining/conference room, a dedicated entertainment area with a big screen monitor, etc. The aircraft is expected to enter service by the end of 2025. Companies are also investing in the development of environmentally friendly aircraft. Commercial companies, charter operators and other aircraft operators acquire new aircraft to improve their operations. For example, in November 2021, Airbus Helicopters announced that the company had delivered the first five-bladed H145 helicopter to HTM Helicopters equipped with a powerful winch, flotation equipment and cargo hook. These introductions of new aircraft models and partnerships between aircraft operators and aircraft OEMs are expected to help companies increase their market share.

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