VLJs Neither ‘Revolutionary’ Nor ‘Disruptive’

 - October 1, 2009, 1:03 PM

The marketing hype surrounding very light jets (VLJs) has “largely subsided,” according to Brian Foley, president of business aviation consulting firm Brian Foley Associates, and the VLJ “has yet to prove that it’s anything more than a subcompact business jet. This is in contrast to a time when ‘revolutionary’ and ‘disruptive technology’ were industry buzzwords, and at least one now-defunct manufacturer [Eclipse Aviation] had forecast its own yearly production numbers in the thousands.” While the VLJ was marketed as a distinct category, Foley explained, it is “nothing more than a downward market extension, analogous to business jets getting bigger on the top end of the product continuum.” The manufacturers that continue to build VLJs didn’t buy into the hype, he noted. “In retrospect that decision had foresight since the term VLJ was at times tainted by connotations of unrealistic expectations and even failure. The industry, including VLJ users such as air taxis, would do well to drop hyped words like ‘revolutionary’ from its vocabulary to improve credibility with end users. Innovative products are welcomed by the industry and routinely precede adoption in others.”