Business aviation traffic growth in March exceeded the recovery for aviation as a whole by a factor of more than 10, according to Eurocontrol figures.
Compared with the same month in 2009, business aviation traffic is showing growth of 11% across Europe in March this year, compared with an increase of only 1.6% for movements across all sectors.
This recovery does not bring business aviation activity back to where it was in 2008, because in 2009 it had dropped 14%. Aviation as a whole had declined over a period of 17 months before these signs of recovery, says Eurocontrol.
In its new report on business aviation in 2009, Eurocontrol "charts the decline of business aviation from its 2007 peak, and the rapid recovery that now seems to be under way for the sector".
Eurocontrol's report provides more evidence of business aviation's underlying strength in flexibility: "The strong growth of the business aviation sector is underlined by the fact that it was hit less than other air transport during the recent volcanic ash cloud crisis. During the crisis, the number of business aviation flights fell by 35% compared to 55% for all air traffic.
"Business aviation also recovered more quickly, and by 19 April was already operating more flights to Russia, North America and North Africa than a week earlier."
David Marsh, the agency's head of forecasting, says: "With 66% of all business flights in 2009 between city pairs that have no daily scheduled service, it is clear to see that business aviation has refocused on its niche market and is well positioned to take advantage of any recovery."