October 19, 2012

A recent study of European business aviation operators and users determined that the industry provides significant benefits for local industries, governments and communities.

Commissioned by the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), and conducted by the global forecasting firm Oxford Economics, the study confirms that an overwhelming majority (80 percent) of business flights conducted in 2011 were operated strictly for the promotion of business interests across the economic scale, and for travel to less-accessible areas and communities.

“It has been shown that two-thirds of businesspeople declare face-to-face contact to be crucial in deal-making,” noted EBAA President Brian Humphries. “Business aviation facilitates such meetings like no other form of transport, thanks to the flexibility of its service.”

The study, The Role of Business Aviation in the European Economy, found that up to 25 percent of annual corporate revenues were related to flights with multiple destinations, many of which would not have been possible utilizing commercial airline service; in fact, 96 percent of the missions flown by business aircraft users in Europe last year involved destinations without commercial service, and 70 percent of all business aviation flights were conducted from airports with fewer than 100 departures per day.

“The range of destinations that can be reached via a business jet widens exponentially compared to the confines of the scheduled routes,” the study noted.

Business aviation also contributes significant funding to local economies, researchers noted, at a time when the region continues to struggle under a massive recession. According to the study, the business aviation industry employs 164,000 people throughout Europe, including 1,000 direct positions at England’s Farnborough Airport and another 4,000 local supply-chain jobs.

The industry also provides long-term benefits in the manufacturing sector, and supports municipal construction projects such as airport infrastructure improvements.

EBAA CEO Fabio Gamba noted the findings are particularly important given the many regulatory and economic challenges facing the industry, and as the amount of business aviation traffic throughout the European Union falls from 2011 figures.

“What this study clearly points out is that business aviation is playing a key role in facilitating Europe’s recovery,” he said. “This importance should be recognized in policy formulation, with legislators developing regulations and mechanisms that bolster business aviation activity in order to further stimulate the growth of our region, rather than ignore it as it was evidenced with the European Commission’s proposed recast on slot allocation, or penalize it as the Italian government has done by introducing a double tax on owners and passengers, resulting in dismal traffic figures in the country.”