“The European business aviation market recovery is lagging that of the U.S. market by 12 to 18 months,” Chad Anderson, president of business jet broker Jetcraft (static display), told AIN here at EBACE 2014. “Many European operators are rightsizing their fleets, which makes this a stronger recovery. However, there is still a lot of price fragility in the pre-owned business jet market.”
If anything, Anderson said, the U.S. market is helping to prop up the recovery in Europe. “Europe has an ample supply of good, young pre-owned business jets, which are quickly being snapped up by buyers in the U.S.,” he said. “Essentially, this region is presently an export market for pre-owned jets.”
But there are still buyers in Europe, “particularly those in it for the long term,” he said. “The market for pre-owned business jets is pretty strong in the UK and Germany. We also consider Africa to be an extension of the European market, and we’re seeing strong demand there, especially in Nigeria and the metroplexes in South Africa.”
Due to the tensions in Ukraine and Crimea, “Russia, which has typically been a strong player in the market, is an unknown at the moment,” Anderson said. “In the short term, there are more sellers than buyers there. However, we see these tensions as a temporary flare-up. The geopolitics there should settle soon.”
With prices of pre-owned jets “bouncing along the bottom” and ample supply, Anderson said the good news is that there are a lot of great values in the resale market. While sellers are getting less for their aircraft, “The real opportunity for them is when they purchase another aircraft, which they can also buy at a depressed price,” he added.
The European business jet market has typically been driven by light and midsize jets, a segment that Anderson said is driven by high-net-worth individuals who make “emotional purchases rather than business ones.” But as sales in these segments have diminished, he said the business jet market in Europe is now being buoyed by increased demand for large-cabin jets, which are typically bought by corporations that must justify the expense.
Over the next 12 to 24 months, Anderson expects the pre-owned business jet market in Europe and elsewhere will carry on with its recovery. That said, he believes prices will continue to bounce along the bottom.