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Asia-Pacific Business Jet Flight Activity 2021 Q1 Review – Asian Sky Quarterly 2021 Q1

Asia-Pacific Business Jet Flight Activity 2021 Q1 Review – Asian Sky Quarterly 2021 Q1

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WINGX Data Source: ADSB and ATC


According to data from German business aviation consultancy WingX Advance, the total number of business aviation flights departing from Asia-Pacific between January 2020 and March 2021 was 103,904 – a 12.5% drop when compared to January 2019 to March 2020. The decline in flight activity is due to restrictions put in place by governments around the world to try and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Flight activities in the first two months of 2021 were slightly lower than in the same period in 2019; however, the number of departures in March 2021 was 9,435 – 65.7% more than in March 2020. The drastic growth in March 2021 indicated that flight activity is gradually recovering to pre-pandemic levels.

Aside from mainland China and India, which saw increases of 13% and 3% respectively, all other countries saw decreased flight activities, albeit to different extents. Singapore, still the country thats flight activity has been the most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, saw a year-on-year drop of 52%. Overall, flight activity began to rebound in May 2020, with a continuous upward trend until the first quarter of 2021.

During the first quarter of 2021, long-haul flights were still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, although flights lasting for less than three hours had recovered to similar levels to those before it began. Despite the initial shock to the industry, by March 2021 flight activity had begun to surpass pre-pandemic levels. 

After the outbreak of COVID-19, domestic flights gradually became more dominant than international flights in Asia-Pacific. Overall, domestic flights accounted for 45% of total flight activities during the period from January 2020 to March 2021, compared to only 34% of flights between January 2019 and March 2020.

The graph shows that flight activity in mainland China and India have already recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the other regions are stil trying to recover. During the first quarter of 2021, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand were on their way to rebounding, whilst Hong Kong and Singapore were still struggling.

Mainland China has seen a continuous year-on-year rise since August 2020 and was the only country to perform well in the first quarter. In March alone, mainland China and India saw huge year-on-year increases in flight activities equivalent to a rate of 225% and 102%, respectively. By contrast, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore have experienced long-lasting year-on-year drops since the outbreak of COVID-19.

From the graph, half of the top OEMs experienced a year-on-year rise in flight activity. Cessna increased by 24% mainly due to the major recovery in mainland China and India. In addition, although Honda ranked last amongst the top OEMs, its flight activities grew by 138%. This was due to a 168.6% year-on-year rise in Japan and 87.5% growth in the Philippines.

On the other hand, ultra-long range jet activity decreased by 36% when compared to the previous period, as India, Indonesia, and Japan saw year-on-year drops of 31.6%, 31.9%, and 66.7%, respectively. By contrast, midsize jet flight activity grew 27% due to the 141.3%, 137.6%, and 52.3% year-on-year rises in South Korea, India, and Indonesia, respectively.

The busiest hub in Asia-Pacific was Beijing during the first quarter of 2021. Compared to the first quarter of 2020, flight activity in Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo and Singapore in the first quarter of 2021 was notably down. On the other hand, flight activities in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou all saw substantial year-on-year rises both in February and March 2021. In addition, Bangkok and Taipei saw year-on-year increases in March 2020, whilst Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo all saw year-on-year drops.