The first quarter of 2013 was mixed for used business aircraft sales, according to the latest market update report from Amstat (Booth 931), although the good news is that inventories of used aircraft continue to drop from the 2009 highs.
During 1Q2013, jet transactions were higher compared to the same period last year, with light jets climbing the most. Light jet transactions totaled 2.9 percent of the light jet fleet in the first quarter, compared to 2.4 percent in 1Q2012. Heavy jets accounted for 1.8 percent of the heavy fleet, up from 1.7 percent in 1Q2012, and medium jets climbed 0.2 percent from 2.3 to 2.5 percent in the same period.
Turboprop transactions were flat in those quarters, with both at 2.2 percent of the worldwide fleet.
On the helicopter side, multi-engine transactions climbed 0.1 percent to 1.1 percent and single-engine transactions 0.3 percent to 1.8 percent, comparing 1Q2013 to 1Q2012.
Comparing 1Q2013 to the last quarter of 2012, business jet transactions dropped 0.2 percent, turboprops dropped 0.4 percent and helicopters climbed 0.2 percent. The drop in jet and turboprop transactions, according to Amstat, “is to be expected as 2012 experienced the Q4 transaction ‘pop’ that we see most years.”
Inventories are contracting, with light jets down to 13.7 from 15.5 percent compared to the end of 1Q2012. During the same periods, turboprop inventories dropped to 8 percent from 9.9 percent. Single-engine helicopters remained the same, at 5.7 percent of the fleet, while medium jets were the sole category to see an increase in inventory to 12.8 percent, up from 12.3 percent at the beginning of 1Q2013.
Prices for heavy jets and turboprops are firming up, with average asking prices from the end of 1Q2012 and the end of 1Q2013 up 7.3 percent for heavy jets and 3.3 percent for turboprops. Prices dropped 7.8 percent for light jets and 5.4 percent for medium jets during that same period. Multi-engine helicopter prices dropped 13 percent, while single-engine helicopter prices dropped 1.4 percent. During 1Q2013, single-engine helicopter prices climbed 3.6 percent.
“The data reflects the current fragmented nature of this market,” said Amstat executive vice-president Tom Benson. “On a quarter-by-quarter basis, it is very difficult to apply broad statements on performance across the market as a whole.”