On The Fly

On the fly

Davos: Champions League Final of bizav

The annual Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) will take place this year between 21-24 January in Switzerland. ExecuJet Aviation Group Director of European FBOs Nicole Gut takes a closer look.

More than 2,500 by-invitation-only delegates are expected to attend this “who’s who” event, one that is arguably the most important get-together of the year for a diverse spectrum of leaders exploring wide-ranging topics from finance and education to emerging markets and climate change. (See our “How to get to Davos” infographic for a map on VIP business aviation traffic).

It is also likely the best event in Europe (perhaps even the world) to showcase all the benefits of business aviation in one place: confidentiality, ease of access for high-profile global leaders (heads of state and industry alike), convenience, efficiency, productivity and security. You might look at it as the single biggest event for business aviation on the annual calendar – business aviation’s version of the Champion’s League Final.


Why is Davos such an ideal fit for business aviation?

For heads of state and ministers in attendance, private aircraft offer the only viable option with sufficient security and confidentiality, not to mention the fact that flying privately drastically reduces travel time and other hassles. In 2014, the heads of state from Israel, Mexico, Japan and Brazil all attended Davos by private aircraft.

Heads of industry also need to rely on private aircraft in order to keep in touch with the businesses they run. As Davos is a global event, many travel long distances and cannot afford to be “out of pocket” for extensive durations. Private aviation keeps the C-level crowd connected.

Davos by the numbers

The 2015 edition will be ExecuJet’s eleventh year of handling flights for the WEF, as we opened our Zurich FBO in 2003 and first handled flights for Davos in 2004. Here are just some of the mind-boggling statistics on this global event:

  • Over 2,500 delegates attend each year, including 40+ heads of state;
  • ExecuJet estimates that 60% of all delegates will travel to the WEF by private aircraft;
  • WEF’s dates on the calendar are perennially the busiest of the year for our Zurich FBO;
  • ExecuJet expects to host VIPs from all countries (approximately 75) attending the WEF in Davos in 2015, including foreign ministers and presidents;
  • For Davos 2014, ExecuJet handled over 150 aircraft bringing VIP passengers to the event, with a high proportion of long-range business jets.

ExecuJet typically uploads about 450,000 liters of Jet A1 Fuel during the event’s duration.

A Demand for expanded service

Again this year as in previous years, ExecuJet has secured an exclusive agreement with Dübendorf Airport (LSMD), the military-owned airport located just 5nm north of Zurich. Our exclusive arrangement enables us to park an additional 40 aircraft at any time. With so many delegates expected to arrive at Davos by private aircraft, its no surprise that expanded access to ground handling and landing facilities should be needed. In ExecuJet’s case, the week of the Economic Forum is perennially our busiest of the whole year for our Zurich FBO. 

Which aircraft go to Davos?

In terms of the type of aircraft these VIPs used to get to Davos, it’s clear the long-range, high-capacity jets are well represented. With traffic emanating from all corners of the globe, it’s no surprise we see strong representation from aircraft capable of up to 6,000 nm range (enough to get even a Hollywood executive to Davos), capable of accommodating 15-20 people. At the same time, we see smaller, lighter aircraft for passengers needing to cover a shorter distance from within Europe or the UK/Ireland.  

In addition, our 20 most common aircraft at Davos over the past three years are built by no fewer than six of the world’s leading private aircraft manufacturers, representing as much diversity as the WEF itself.

To Davos by aircraft type

Most common aircraft types handled at our Zurich FBO during the WEF, 2012-2014:

Rank Aircraft Type
1 Bombardier Global Express/XRS
2 Gulfstream G550


Gulfstream G450
4 Dassault Falcon 7X
5 Embraer Legacy 600
6 Gulfstream V
7 Bombardier Global 5000
8 Gulfstream G650
9 Bombardier Challenger 300
10 Bombardier Challenger 605
11 Bombardier Challenger 850
12 Bombardier Learjet 45
13 Cessna Citation 560XL
14 Embraer Phenom 300
15 Dassault Falcon 2000
16 Bombardier Challenger 604
17 Pilatus PC-12
18 Gulfstream IV
19 Bombardier Learjet 60
20 Dassault Falcon 900EX

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