Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green – one of several UK airfields threatened by residential development
With much of the attention focussed on the recovery of commercial aviation, it is important not to overlook the UK’s general aviation sector, which is estimated to provide £3.0 billion per annum in General Value Added (GVA) to the country’s economy.
The most recent CAA data suggests that in terms of total aircraft movements, business and recreational aviation has now recovered to about 85% of its pre-Covid levels in 2019. This has been led by corporate aviation, which provided an alternative to commercial flights during lockdown and, as a result of continued growth, aircraft movements are now some 4% higher than in 2019. Other types of general aviation, such as recreational flying and flight training have continued for most of the Covid period and seem to have benefited from the restrictions on overseas travel, particularly during the peak Summer months. The recovery of the GA sector is slightly more advanced than that for commercial aviation, where movements are around 80% of pre-Covid levels, although this is offset by higher seat load factors.