Overall, the report delivered mixed news. “We call them as we see them,” said Jetnet iQ’s Paul Cardarelli, vice president of sales. “And we see some challenges now.” The good news? The “Big 5” manufacturers (including Dassault Falcon, Gulfstream, Bombardier, Embraer, and Textron Aviation) have a total “firm order” backlog of $32 billion—a rebound over last year of 7% after five years of dropping steadily.
Cardarelli cautioned, though, that the market may be heading towards an oversupply situation similar to that experienced in the years leading up to the recession of 2008. “We remain bullish on business aviation as a whole,” he said, but he worries about the aging demographic of the average business jet owner, which the survey results indicate as a male aged 63 years old. “This industry needs to be out there looking for more concept buyers.” Those in the younger age brackets are more the product of the “sharing” economy, and may be candidates for shared ownership of aircraft—rather than owning a full airplane.
In their survey of operators, they received 508 responses to the questions asked regarding the owner’s own view of the state of the economy. The number of respondents who believe the market is past its low point has dropped from 69% last year to 51% this year—the sharpest drop that Jetnet iQ has seen in 17 years. Net optimism appears to be on the wane, with contributing factors including trade tensions, the upcoming elections in the United States, Germany tipping towards recession, and the specter of Brexit that has not gone away. Almost a quarter (24%) replied that they felt they had “enough airplane in their hangar”—another portent to oversupply.
Another interesting result from the survey? The percentage of owner/operators who reported ADS-B compliance. While those in North America registered more than 80% compliance with the mandate for January 2020, on average only 50% in other regions had so equipped.