“We think a sustained recovery in business jet utilization is necessary to drive improvement in the new aircraft cycle,” UBS Investment Research aerospace analysts said in their latest business jet market update, released yesterday. “Without a recovery in utilization we still see the market as oversupplied.”
The good news here is that the UBS analysts estimate that business jet takeoffs and landings in the U.S. were 4 percent higher last month than a year ago. Charter activity–which accounts for nearly one third of these cycles–remains the “growth driver,” climbing 13 percent year-over-year last month. Meanwhile, “non-charter cycles [were] roughly unchanged year to date,” UBS said.
Cycles in the U.S. are now about 30 percent above the 2009 trough but are being driven almost solely by young (less than five years old) jet utilization, which has seen activity surge by 75 percent from this low point. The rest of the business jet fleet increased utilization by just 4 percent from the 2009 trough, UBS noted. Compared with April last year, cycles increased across all jet classes, with large-cabin flying up 7 percent, while light and midsize jet flying increased by 3 percent to 4 percent.
Meanwhile, business jet cycles in Europe were down by 2 percent year-over-year in April. “Our analysis indicates that business jet flight activity in Europe has lagged the U.S., drifting steadily lower over the past few years,” UBS said.