Avinode, the online charter marketplace, released its 2014 Business Aviation Market Forecast here at NBAA 2013, followed by a panel discussion by charter operators from the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Avinode Business Intelligence forecasts a positive year for business aviation in the U.S. in 2014, with an expected 0.7 percent increase in business jet flights, while Europe is projected to see a 0.9 percent decline in activity, according to Per Marthinsson, Avinode co-founder and managing director for the Americas. Marthinsson noted that this is Avinode’s second annual forecast; last year’s report predicted a 0.1 percent decline in U.S. business jet flights during 2013 and a 3.2 percent decline in Europe, while the actual declines were 0.2 percent and 2.3 percent, according to the company.
Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, Avinode (Booth No. N3921) gathers the data for its forecasts from monitoring the activity of the 1,500 brokers and operators that subscribe to its services, along with data from the FAA and Eurocontrol and economic forecasts. More than two million requests for charter flights are routed through Avinode annually, said Marthinsson. Avinode is distributing its 2014 forecast here at the show.
Following a review of the figures, Brent Muldowan of Jeppesen Business Aviation (Booth No. 2704) and president of the Air Charter Association of North America (Acana, at the Avinode booth) moderated a discussion with a quartet of charter operators: Bernhard Wipfler, director of sales, International Jet Management, of Austria; Mike Walsh, CEO of Hong Kong-based Asia Jet (Avinode booth); Scott Wise, president of Travel Management Company (TMC) in Elkhart, Ind.; and Lina Crozco, director of operations at Vesta Jet in Brazil. Representing markets on four different continents and four disparate business models, the four operators discussed how they’ve dealt with the sluggish charter market, though all sounded upbeat about their own company’s fortunes.
“We’ve invested in our fleet, we have a refurbishment programs that put [Aircell Gogo Biz] Wi-Fi in our entire fleet,” said TMC’s Wise. “So I think you have to have a superior product and try to hold the line on pricing. For the part it’s been a good year for us.”