JetNet IQ Offers a Glimpse of the Current Business Aviation Market at VBACE

While aircraft shipments are down, North American operators see better days ahead.

Gulfstream Aerospace is one of the major companies tracked by JetNet IQ.Chris Leipelt/Unsplash

Rollie Vincent offered some context about the global pandemic in his remarks about the state of the business aviation market that’s ravaged the globe. His comments came on Wednesday, December 2, at NBAA’s virtual expo, VBACE. “The news of the vaccine developments is showing up in the surveys we’re conducting with the owner/operator community,” he said. He called the economic doldrums of 2020 a severe recession “and almost a depression” in some parts of the world. Vincent is the creator and director of JetNet IQ, a business aviation market research, strategy and forecasting service that claims a survey base for its most recent market update of about 20,000 business aircraft owner/operators around the world. The company updates its forecasts four times per year.

Vincent recapped the year so far. “The US is 60 percent of the industry. The GDP [here] has been revised up to -3.8, an improvement from the original -5 or -6,” he said. “During October of this year, Part 91 aircraft cycles were off 32 percent year over year.” In business aviation Part 135 and Part 91K however, “operations rose one percent year over year. [Recently] Dow Jones has been a very positive indicator of sentiment and economic growth potential.” That said, Vincent still expects aircraft shipments to be off between 25 to 30 percent compared to the same period last year. Sales and leases of preowned business jets were up nearly 13 percent although “prices have been a little soft. Not bad at all considering the hell we’ve been through.” He said fleet size has continued to grow and that backlogs have continued to decline—and that survey respondents are still concerned mostly about aircraft cleaning procedures, the cost of the flight and the systems used to distribute cabin air.

JetNet IQ asked its survey base essentially how they feel about the industry. “In the second quarter, we recorded the lowest sentiment we’d ever seen, down some 43 percent.” The company measures sentiments as positive or negative 100 around its base data. For reference, the industry in the second quarter of 2018 recorded a +55 percent sentiment. In Q2 2020, sentiment sat at +4.2 percent. That number rose to 18.4 percent by November 9 when positive news about the vaccines emerged. The mood has continued to improve and now stands at +28 percent, a sentiment he said that’s has been pretty consistent around the world.

Looking to the future, nearly three quarters of North American survey respondents said they expect aircraft utilization to return to pre-COVID-19 levels over the next 12 months. Data from other regions of the world showed similar sentiments, but not quite as strongly as those of North America. JetNet IQ’s Pulse twice-monthly 10- to 12-page industry aircraft usage newsletter is available here.

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