Europe: The Big 5 of Private Aviation

The multi-billion euro business aviation industry in Europe (€87bn, 2017) is led by a handful of countries counting over 64% of European total private jets departures.

Who are the top five players dominating the continent’s private air travel movements?

According to the European Business Aviation Association’s 2018 European Business Aviation Economic Value & Business Benefits report, five countries stand out when it comes to the annual number of departures: France, Germany, the UK, Italy and Switzerland. In other words, these nations are the Big 5 of Europe’s private aviation sector.

In these countries, business aviation is synonymous with economic growth, societal benefits and higher connectivity. 76% of the industry’s total Gross Value Added in Europe is generated by France, Switzerland, Germany and the UK; countries that also host major aircraft manufacturers and, together with Italy, account for 57% of all professional positions within the private aviation sector. The industry also makes 25,280 European routes possible, that are otherwise not connected by a direct flight. Private aviation also carries significant societal benefits: allowing air ambulances and medical flights to reach even the most remote areas of the European continent. Indeed, private aircraft movements lead to higher connectivity between diverse European destinations which aren’t efficiently served by commercial aviation.

Private aviation links people and places, driving economic value in the Europe’s top five countries with the highest numbers of private aircraft departures.

N. 1: France

127,923 departures in 2017 position France as the number one country, in Europe, private jets depart from. Paris-Le-Bourget and Nice-Côte d’Azur are the busiest French airports, with the highest numbers of departures in 2017. Cannes and St. Tropez airports are popular too, along with the Paris region and its Pontoise and Toussus-Le-Noble airfields, and the Issy-les-Moulineaux heliport serving numerous clients.

France is also home to important manufacturers like Dassault and Airbus, delivering aircraft and components, internationally.

The route Paris – Geneva is the city pair linking the country with another European destination, that was the most popular in 2017. When looking at departures of the same year, most flights to and from France are either within the French borders or related to the other top players of the sector: the United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland and Germany.

N. 2: Germany

With 98,482 departures recorded in 2017, Germany arrives second on the race for private aircraft traffic. This number is 3.5% higher compared to the departures registered in 2016.

Germany’s most significant private aviation activity gravitates around Berlin, Munich and Bavaria, Stuttgart and Brandenburg. These areas are home to the country’s most frequented private aviation terminals: Berlin boasts Schönefeld and Tegel international airports, and Brandenburg’s Schönhagen Airfield in Trebbin, shows significant activity too, related to the traffic of numerous private aircraft flying in and out. However, most German departures happen at Munich Airport: 7,323 to be exact (2017), compared to the 5,982 private jets that took off from Berlin Schönefeld.

Germany’s top city pair by number of flights is a national flight between Düsseldorf and Friedrichshafen and most private aviation traffic to and from Germany is related to neighbouring France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

N. 3: the United Kingdom

With Biggin Hill Airport, Farnborough Airport, London Oxford Airport, London Ashford Airport, Stapleford Aerodrome, and Elstree, in addition to the well-known international airports of Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, City and Southend, Greater London absorbs half of UK’s private aviation activity.

Luton and Farnborough airports both appear amongst the top 5 European business aviation airports with the highest number of departures in 2017: counting over 14.5K and 12K respectively.

Very close to the German score, the UK registered 98,311 private jet departures in 2017.

The most popular city pair for the UK, within the European continent, is the flight linking London to Paris; and the largest portion of private jet flights were directed to or coming from the other main players of the industry: France, Germany and Switzerland.

N. 4: Italy

Italy’ 63,198 annual departures grant the country its spot among private aviation’s biggest players.

International Milano and Roma Ciampino airports sit in 7th and 8th position among 2017’s top business airports in Europe, (ranked by number of departures) and concentrate most of the Italian private aviation traffic. The country’s top city pair is a national flight, bringing private jet travellers from Milan to Rome and vice versa.

Italy’s major private air traffic partners are the other four members of the big 5: France, Germany, the UK and Switzerland.

N. 5: Switzerland

Switzerland registered 45,943 departures in 2017, placing it among the 5 biggest players of European private aviation.

The regions of Zurich, Geneva with their international airports and surrounding airfields concentrate most of the swiss business aviation activity. Geneva is particularly significant in the eyes of private aviation actors since its airport is the third most visited business airport in Europe, with over 17K private jet departures in 2017.

Unsurprisingly, Switzerland’s air traffic is mostly directed towards and coming from the other four members of the above-mentioned big 5 and it’s top connection is between Geneva and Paris, one of Europe most popular routes of all times.

LunaJets is based in Switzerland and in the heart of Europe. Market experts, our advisors are accustomed to organising private jet charter flights within and between the Big 5 of Private Aviation, and across the globe.

Our highly trained and experienced team is on hand 24/7; don’t hesitate to get in touch.