Тhe Russian business aviation market, with its systemic dependence on the state of the country’s economy, saw a slight decline in the first half of 2015. International experts have been reporting lower frequencies of flights between Moscow and European destinations, which are particularly popular with Russian bizav passengers. German business aviation intelligence specialist WINGX Advance reports a 23% drop in traffic for the first six months. The Swedish air charter selling platform Avinode remarks that the decline began last December, following the depreciation of the ruble, when the number of bizav charter bookings dropped by 6%. The situation worsened in January, with the drop in traffic reaching 18% even despite the season’s holidays, which are traditionally accompanied by a spike in business aviation flights. February, usually a slow month, only added to the market’s nosedive, resulting in a 30% drop in the number of business charter bookings year-on-year. Avinode says the market somewhat stabilized by summer: traffic grew by 4% in June and by 5% in July.
It would be wrong to conclude that the Russian bizav market is nearing a collapse. First, Avinode bases its statistics on bizav charter booking requests, not on the actual flight sales, meaning that its figures merely suggest a certain trend.
Second, summer lulls are common for virtually all European business aviation markets. WINGX Advance points to the ongoing shrinkage of European traffic, which fell a further 1% this June. Austria and Norway each suffered a whopping 9% decline, followed by Turkey with 6%. The worst situation has been observed in Ukraine, whose market plummeted nearly 40%. According to Avinode, the last noticeable peak in Ukrainian bizav traffic to date (+20%) was reported in February 2014 as members of the toppled government were fleeing the country. The greatest traffic growth in the EU has been observed in Greece, which was striving to secure a new IMF loan throughout this summer. The frequency of flights between the EU and the US, in the meantime, has grown by 8%.