Over the next few weeks, Europe will see the start of its summer seasonal uplift in private jet and helicopter flights, and its busiest weekend of the year.
While of course there is demand every month for business aviation in Europe, there are quite considerable seasonal variances. This is a notable difference between the European and US markets – across the Atlantic there is a more level demand year round (watch this space for a more detailed comparison coming soon).
The end of May and into June sees private jet movements start to climb at European airports. Several major sporting, arts and entertainment events attract corporate and VIP leisure users of private flights. Business usage remains high and we start to see more second home owners and other luxury travellers taking short sunshine breaks.
All of this combines to form Europe’s biggest weekend for private jets towards the end of May, with the Friday (this year May 23rd) one of the biggest days of the year for private jets in Europe – with several high profile events kicking off at the same time. Last year there were over 6,000 private jet flights on the equivalent Friday (Friday is almost always the busiest day of the week for private jets) and over 15,000 over the whole weekend.
The Cote D’Azur will be particularly busy, with a combination of the Monaco Grand Prix and Cannes Film Festival attracting huge numbers of visitors to the area. Nice Cote D’Azur airport (open 24 hours and with three dedicated private jet terminals) sees the majority of the traffic, but Cannes Mandelieu, an exclusive private jet airport, also reaches full capacity. With parking at a premium, many jets will have to drop and go, using smaller airports such as nearby Toulon, as overflow parking zones.
Here are the events driving Europe’s peak weekend for private jet flights:
MONACO GRAND PRIX 2014
A highlight of the Formula One motor racing season and a major draw for VIPs and celebrities, the Monaco Grand Prix combines the glamour of Monte Carlo with the excitement of Formula One.
Date: 22-25 May 2014
Closest airports: Cannes Mandelieu and Nice Cote D’Azur. Private helicopter charter is also popular from these airports, for transfers to Monaco.
See more information and flight prices for private jet charter to the Monaco Grand Prix
CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 2014
Also a big draw for VIP travellers to the Cote D’Azur and culminating on the same weekend as the Monaco Grand Prix, is the 67th Cannes Film Festival. This will take place at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, in the centre of Cannes, with Jane Campion acting as the President of the Jury 2014.
Date: 14-24 May 2014
Closest airports: Cannes Mandelieu and Nice Cote D’Azur
See more information and flight prices for private jet charter to the Cannes Film Festival
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL 2014
The culmination of Europe’s Champions League football also takes place on the same weekend at Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica. This will generate significant demand for private jets in and out of Lisbon, particularly from Spain, as the final will see Real Madrid facing Athletico Madrid. This is the first time two teams from the same city have competed in the final.
Date: 24 May 2014
Closest airport: Lisbon Lisboa
See more information and flight prices for private jet charter to the Champions League Final
ROLAND GARROS FRENCH OPEN TENNIS 2014
Also opening on the same weekend is the grand slam French Open tennis. This takes place at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, where the world’s greatest tennis players compete to win the prestigious Roland Garros trophy.
Date: 25 May – 8 June 2014
Closest airport: Paris Le Bourget
See more information and flight prices for private jet charter to the French Open Tennis