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Rise and decline of various types of GA around Europe

Over the years we have had many discussions about what will happen to GA as we know it.

In the “largest activity” countries – Germany France UK – it seems to carry on, with a largely certified fleet.

In the meantime, Italy and Spain has seen basically a collapse in their certified activity and a big move to ultralights. “This one” is perhaps the classic illustration of why this has happened.

However, an activity with a lower barrier to entry also has a lower barrier to exit, so will this continue? This suggests not.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

My impression is it’s going down in all segments of GA right now.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

Peter wrote:

In the “largest activity” countries – Germany France UK – it seems to carry on, with a largely certified fleet.

I am not sure this is true even in these bastions of GA.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/315312/ga-panel-report.pdf (page 15)
ga_panel_report_pdf

The trend in all categories is in the decline on the basis of the information the CAA have.

Is this accurate and brings us up to date? I am not sure.

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/General-Aviation-GA-Hours-Flown-and-Total-Operations-2000-2030_fig6_235145938

whoever thought the trend is about to reverse I suspect has it horribly wrong.

Has the CAA produced recent data? You would hope so, unless it is a story they would rather isnt told.

Why cant we readily see data like this?

http://download.aopa.org/hr/Report_on_General_Aviation_Trends.pdf
Report_on_General_Aviation_Trends_pdf

but unfortunately at the piston end of the market even in the USA this suggests that GA is not in rude health.

I often wonder what people “do” these days. Has life become so time constrained that we all do less? Golf is down. Most sporting activites are down. What happened to all those aspirations that we would enjoy more leisure time, or do we just enjoy doing different things. Doubtless a very complex question with the need for a lot of data to make any sense of it.

Last Edited by Fuji_Abound at 18 Sep 08:33

Fuji_Abound wrote:

I often wonder what people “do” these days.

My suspicion is on the computer / tablet / phone binge watching streaming things. But I could be totally wrong.

I tend not to go to big airports, so probably miss picking up on the state of the club scene. But the grass strips and fields seem to be ticking along reasonably well. I would be very interested to see the overall data.

I do wonder if there is a critical mass which once dropped below will see a rapid decline.

Its totally insignificant in European context, but in Estonia the GA is currently in better than ever state. All PPL schools are full, rentals are busy, people are getting new planes- mostly ultralights and helicopters..
EETU, Estonia

Off_Field wrote:

My suspicion is on the computer / tablet / phone binge watching streaming things. But I could be totally wrong.

Don’t think you are. It is frightening to see how dependent we have become on these devices. And how much time we waste.

However, reading a book, checking SM, mail, chat, e.t.c. can easily be done in between other tasks for a few minutes, whereas going flying takes at least half a day all in all.

Generally, I think that Peter is right, it goes on and on in most countries, with the obvious trouble due to COVID now. Once that is gone, if it ever will, I’d expect GA to go back to normal.

What I have noticed in recent times and what gives me a positive outlook is that young people become more interested again. At least that is what I’ve seen from requests for information e.t.c.

LSZH, Switzerland

I would say computer/gaming stuff is the main hobby for young males here since 2000.
Golf has massively grown in the last 10 years in France, yachting too. Globally, expensive hobbies go very well.
GA stagnates while ULs have exploded.
It won’t get better if Avgas get 20c/l of extra tax. As most airfields have total/bp, it will take time to have mogas available.

LFPT, LFEH

The economic consequences of shrinking GA are threefold: less engineers, less insurance capacity, less flight schools. This is a self reinforcing trend resulting possibly in only the Permit to Fly tube and fabric stalwarts being economically viable long term.

Oxford (EGTK)

Jujupilote wrote:

I would say computer/gaming stuff is the main hobby for young males here since 2000.

I consider myself a gamer since about 25 years ago. I don’t think gaming does really influence GA, sports or any other hobby in a significant or negative way. Gaming is an excellent poor weather hobby, contrary to outdoor sports, GA or any other outdoor activity. Most gaming takes place in the evening.

Thus, these hobbies are not mutually exclusive.

What is much more relevant is that the younger generation in many countries has a worse standard of living than previous generations. Many young people simply can’t afford golf, boating or GA. Of course, these things were never really affordable, but it got worse I think. Just look at how few young people can afford to buy a house nowadays, especially with the price explosion of the last decades.

Novice pilot
EDVM Hildesheim, Germany

I see a lot of gaming being done in sunny weather :)
But you make a point.
A guy retiring as a technician could buy more flight hours with his first salary in 1980, than me today.

LFPT, LFEH
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