18 February 2021 - Austria: private business aviation industry soars during crisis

  • Industry increases market share by 4.3 percentage points during crisis
  • TOP 3: Austria among the most popular locations for jet registrations
  • Sustainability remains an important topic in the industry

The international aviation industry was hit hard in 2020 and experts agree that it will be years before passenger numbers and route networks return to the levels of 2019. However, not everyone in the industry had to stay on the ground, as the private business aviation sector scored new highs during the pandemic. Where the major airlines dropped out, private operators quickly and smoothly took over important orders. As a result, the market share (in terms of flight volume) of private business aviation in Austria increased by 4.3 percentage points y-o-y to 11.2 percent (2019: 6.9 percent). The share of direct and indirect employees in the industry remained stable at 12,400 people. 

"In 2020, 26 airports across Austria were served by private operators, which shows how flexible and adaptable private aviation is. For example, transports of organs and blood reserves, retrievals for high-risk patients and deliveries of urgently needed technical spare parts or system-relevant goods, which could not reach their destination due to limited airline networks, were organized with private jets," summarizes Antonia Gilbert, the new president of the Austrian Business Aviation Association (ABAA), the crisis year 2020. 

Antonia Gilbert
Antonia Gilbert

TOP 3: Austria among the most popular locations for jet registrations

As of year-end 2020, 226 private jets were registered in Austria, representing a growth of 4 percent y-o-y, well above the EU average of 2 percent. In 2020, approximately 17 percent, or almost one in five, of the newly registered private jets in the EU were registered in Austria. In Europe, only Germany and Poland saw more new registrations in 2020, which is remarkable considering the size of the Austrian market. 

A development that Alexander Schmidecker, CEO of Raiffeisen-Leasing, can also confirm: "In 2020, we were able to record an all-time high in customer inquiries. Inquiries increased from companies that had not previously considered business aviation but are now suffering from the massively restricted flight connections. Private jet operators can flexibly adapt to the schedules of their customers or owners and fly into smaller airports that are located away from major cities. And it is obviously also easier to implement the necessary hygiene and security measures on a private jet, which is currently a top priority for our customers."

Alexander Schmidecker
© David Sailer 2015
Alexander Schmidecker

Both, Gilbert and Schmidecker are therefore confident that Corona represents a real opportunity for the private aviation industry in Austria. “I am convinced that many new customers that we are able to acquire during this period will not do without the benefits of private aviation in the long term, whether as charter customers or owning a private jet themselves, as this maximum flexibility in day-to-day business gives them a clear competitive advantage," says Gilbert.


Sustainability remains an important topic in the industry

Even though private aviation accounts for only 0.04 per cent of global CO2 emissions, sustainability and the focus on climate-friendly fuels (SAJF - Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel), such as biokerosene or hydrogen, remains an important topic in the industry.

"We are very proud that our parent company, Raiffeisen Bank International, was the first Austrian bank to sign the United Nations 'Principles for Responsible Banking' (UNEP FI). Hence, Raiffeisen-Leasing also reviews all financing with the underlying ESG criteria in mind," Schmidecker says.


Network expanded: Raiffeisen-Leasing now also a member of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA)

The year 2020 also showed the importance of cooperation and exchange within the industry, which is why Raiffeisen-Leasing also extended its membership in the domestic association ABAA to the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA). For Schmidecker, who himself has been a member of the board of Leaseurope, the umbrella organization of national leasing associations in Europe, this opens up new opportunities: "Thanks to our decades of expertise and our excellent network in the CEE region, we can also get involved at the European level and present our concerns to European decision-makers with a stronger voice. This is more important today than ever before, as the Corona crisis will have a lasting impact on European aviation. Raiffeisen-Leasing would like to play a constructive role in this reshaping."

About ABAA

The ABAA (Austrian Business Aviation Association) is an association that represents the interests of its members, all of whom are directly or indirectly involved in business aviation or otherwise have an interest in the positive development of business aviation in Austria. The representation of interests is done by actively promoting the interests of Business Aviation in Austria. On the one hand, this is done by maintaining contact with authorities, the public and other stakeholders. On the other hand, this is done by creating a network platform for the exchange of information and experience as well as by creating a think tank into which international developments and findings from the exchange of experience with similar interest groups flow. www.abaa.at

About Raiffeisen-Leasing

Raiffeisen-Leasing has been active in Austria and abroad since 1970 as a specialist institution of the Raiffeisen Banking Group Austria, offering all forms of vehicle, movable property, aircraft and real estate leasing, fleet management and property development business - under the Raiffeisen WohnBau brand. The company is networked in 17 countries through its parent, Raiffeisen Bank International. For about 20 years, Raiffeisen-Leasing has also been intensively involved in complex financing from the executive and private aviation sectors and has already successfully handled more than 100 aircraft financing transactions. www.raiffeisen-leasing.at

Data Source:

The market data on which this release is based was provided by the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA). www.ebaa.com

For more information, please contact:

Andrea PELINKA-KINZ (+43-1-71707-8787, andrea.pelinka-kinz@rbinternational.com)  oder
Anja KNASS (+43-1-71707-5905, anja.knass@rbinternational.com)