Bizjet Market Deteriorating Rapidly, UBS Report Says

 - December 4, 2008, 10:57 AM

According to a UBS Investment Research report issued yesterday, the business jet market “is deteriorating at an accelerating rate” as pre-owned inventory continued to rise, flight activity fell and sales slowed last month. Worse yet, business jet financing appears to be drying up, threatening backlogs. This combination of bad news caused UBS’s bizjet market index to drop nearly 50 percent, marking the “largest ever drop in our survey.” Pre-owned business jet inventories rose 7 percent last month and are now 62 percent higher than year-ago levels, with the increase led by young used inventories. Total pre-owned inventories account for 16 percent of the in-service fleet, nudging the 17-percent peak of late 2002, according to UBS analyst David Strauss. Newer used airplanes are already well above prior peak levels, he added. Flight activity suffered its “steepest yet” decline in October, with estimated business jet cycles (takeoffs and landings) down 19 percent from the same month last year and 10-percent lower year-to-date. A slowdown in new aircraft sales has also resulted in UBS downgrading its business jet delivery forecast, which now predicts the peak in aircraft deliveries (sans very light jets) to occur this year, versus 2010 previously, and then drop 25 percent in the 2009 to 2011 time frame.