All of Europe’s Top 20 airports saw more private jets flying in and out in 2017 than the year before, with particularly strong growth for London airports, according to a new league table and infographic from PrivateFly.

The private jet booking service, analysed industry figures from intelligence provider WingX-Advance to reveal that four of the UK capital’s airports made Europe’s Top 20, with a combined total of over 79,000 private aviation movements (a departure or arrival).

The city is also home to the airport with the most private jet growth in the table, Biggin Hill, which saw a 16% rise in year-on-year activity.

Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly comments on the findings: “2017 was a business aviation success story in Europe, with overall activity up 4% and charter (on-demand hire of a private jet) leading this recovery. And several London airports saw particularly impressive gains in private jet activity.

“With extended hours and a £15M investment plan putting it under the spotlight, Biggin Hill’s team have done a great job in the past few years to change perceptions of being a poor relation to its glossier rivals. With an attractive and competitive pricing strategy, and helicopter transfers to cut down transfer times to London, more and more customers are choosing it.

“Luton remains the UK’s busiest private jet airport and fourth in Europe, but its limited availability for private jets capped its growth at 2.1%. It has become a victim of its own success: When airlines and private jets compete for space on the runway, private jets lose out. And in London, private jet customers and businesses can choose to go elsewhere.

“There was also a changing-of-the-guard with London Oxford Airport  overtaking London RAF Northolt, which fell out of the Top 20 with a decline. Northolt’s reputation for VVIP service and privacy is unrivalled, but a lack of investment and staffing has meant customers have had to go elsewhere in the past year.

“One to watch is London Southend. It’s not yet in Europe’s Top 20, but with its new Stobart Jet Centre opening last month, more and more customers may see it as a real alternative in 2018.”

Other key findings and analysis include:

  • Paris Le Bourget was the single busiest private jet airport in Europe last year, with over 50,000 private flight movements.
  • Nice Cote d’Azur (up 7%) moved into second place for the first time, overtaking Geneva (now third).
  • Spain’s top three airports (Palma; Madrid and Ibiza) all moved up the table from 2016.
  • The German market was more static than others, with only modest growth at its top airport Munich Munchen.

Adam Twidell continued: “Brexit may be creating continued uncertainty around the UK aviation sector, but London’s importance as both a home and a destination for premium business and leisure travellers is unparalleled”.

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