The first quarter “was a mixed bag of results” for the business aircraft pre-owned market, indicating that “recovery still remains elusive,” according to business aviation information firm Amstat. “On the one hand, inventories generally continued to contract, but year-on-year transaction activity remained largely unchanged and average asking prices in many parts of the market continued to face downward pressure,” the Tinton Falls, N.J.-based company said.
During the first three months, business jet resale retail transactions were largely flat compared with a year ago, with 2.3 percent of the fleet changing hands. On a consecutive quarter-over-quarter basis, transactions slid by 0.2 percentage points. Amstat also noted that the first-quarter performance was below its 20-year average of 2.9 percent.
“The lower transaction activity in Q1 versus Q4 is typical of what we see; however, the flat performance versus Q1 2011 was disappointing and further evidence that we are in a transitional phase in the market cycle,” said Amstat executive vice president Tom Benson.
The report also highlighted “incremental but continued improvements” in pre-owned aircraft inventory levels. At the end of the first quarter, 13.8 percent of the business jet fleet was for sale versus 14.2 percent in the same period last year. However, Amstat noted, this percentage represents a slowdown in the inventory contraction seen in previous quarters.
Average asking prices for light and medium jets have continued to erode, though Amstat has seen “some stability” in large-cabin jet prices.