Business Jet Sentiment Improving, JPMorgan Says

 - September 10, 2009, 10:57 AM

“We’ve felt a more positive vibe on business jets recently, with used inventory ticking down slightly and flight operations edging upward,” JPMorgan Equity Research aerospace analyst Joseph Nadol III said this week. In its latest business jet update, the firm said pre-owned business jet inventory last month decreased to 14.1 percent of the in-service fleet after hovering in the 14.4- to 14.5-percent range–which seems likely to represent the peak for this cycle–since March. The August decline was the largest in 26 months and all classes exhibited lower inventory, according to JPMorgan. Business jet flight activity in July stood at 304,000, exceeding 300,000 monthly movements for the first time since November 2008, the investment company said. Monthly flight operations are now 16 percent above “the February bottom and have increased sequentially for three consecutive months,” though the July numbers were still down 15 percent on a year-over-year basis. Nadol added that business jet sentiment could continue to grow more positive in the near term with the Gulfstream G650 rollout approaching on September 29 and the NBAA Convention next month in Orlando, Fla. “While we expect near-term optimism, we are not calling the bottom of the production cycle,” he noted. “Further production cuts seem likely next year, particularly for large jets, and while used inventories peaked in November 2001 last cycle, deliveries did not trough until 1Q03.”