Demand for new business aircraft in Europe is riding high on a wave of economic growth that is particularly strong in the former communist eastern states. The market is being fanned by the bolstered buying power of customers paying in euros and British pounds as the U.S. dollar continues to languish on international currency exchanges.
Essex County Airport
Business flying is definitely up, and so are fuel prices. But, at least so far, aircraft operators aren’t protesting at the pump too bitterly about what they’re paying for jet-A.
The business and corporate side of general aviation should continue to benefit from a growing market for new microjets over the next 14 fiscal years, and the FAA expects business use of GA aircraft to expand at a more rapid pace than that for personal and sport use.
DOT Secretary Mary Peters cautioned that aviation delays will grow without significant FAA funding reforms (read: user fees) as forecasters predict air traffic will increase by the equivalent of the traffic generated by two major hub airports each year through 2020. Speaking at the annual FAA Forecast Conference last Thursday, Peters noted that airline delays last year reached an all-time high.
The FAA’s Annual Aerospace Forecast always tries to paint the most optimistic picture of the industry that the agency’s statistics will support, and this year proved to be no exception. On the airline side of the house, the agency said that the number of passengers will return to pre-2001 levels this year.
While the FAA drastically cut down on the numbers of very light jets estimated to take to take to the air in the next decade, comments and speeches at the agency’s 31st Annual Forecast Conference this week indicate there will be changes in the way the aviation industry is to pay for operating the nation’s aviation system. For general aviation, it could be in the form of new user fees, higher fuel taxes or both.
Three of the major players in the very light jet (VLJ) arena appeared before the Senate aviation subcommittee to address concerns that the new breed of aircraft will present insuperable challenges for the ATC system. Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton; Eclipse Aviation president Vern Raburn; and DayJet founder Ed Iacobucci took their case to Capitol Hill. Joining them were two top FAA officials and an aviation consultant.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Transportation Department Inspector General are questioning whether the FAA’s safety inspectors and air traffic controllers will be able to cope with the introduction of very light jets (VLJ) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
Honeywell Aerospace and Rolls-Royce each expects the world’s business jet OEMs to set a new delivery record next year and establish a strong precedent for a 10-year forecast period during which Honeywell believes the industry will ship more than 12,000 airplanes worth $195 billion.
Unless you enjoy a long, hot wait to ride the ferry, an airplane is the best way to get to Martha’s Vineyard in the summer. The resort island 22 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., has long been known as a summertime haven for the rich, famous and powerful, with more than its share of visitors arriving in business jets.