Available business jet inventories dropped 2 percent last month, the second sequential decline in three months following 18 months of consecutive increases, according to a business jet report issued by UBS Investment Research this afternoon. Despite the decline, available inventories are still at 17 percent of the in-service fleet, some 36 percent higher than August last year.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is conducting a survey of regulated aviation businesses affected by the lack of FAA standardization on regulatory interpretations. “We have launched the survey in response to the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) review of inconsistencies in how field inspectors interpret and apply requirements on regulated entities,” Jacqueline Rosser, director of regulatory affairs, told AIN.
As used aircraft values got pummeled over the last few quarters, it seemed that the buyers had all but disappeared. They hadn’t. Now that the inventory of most model types is at unprecedented highs and prices are at unprecedented lows, buyers are reemerging in more noticeable numbers and scoring big time on CJs to G550s, often executing a trade some 30- to 50-percent below the prices accepted at this time last year.
XOJet launched a national network of “fare on-demand” rates for aircraft charter service starting at $12,000 on more than 15,000 dedicated routes. According to XOJet, its new fixed-price program eliminates the need for buyers to compare complicated quotes or negotiate with multiple providers. XOJet operates a fleet of Citation Xs and earlier this year launched fixed-price coast-to-coast charter service.
Inventories of used turbine helicopters have been building since the middle of last year, “but now appear to be stabilizing, albeit at record-high levels,” UBS Investment Research noted in its first turbine helicopter inventory report. According to UBS aerospace/aviation analyst David Strauss, about 1,010 helicopters were on the market at the end of last month, including 974 used models and 36 new delivery positions.
Pinnacle Airlines CEO Phil Trenary last month reported “very good progress” in management’s negotiations with the airline’s ALPA-represented pilots for a new contract, several sections of which he said the company managed to close recently during four days of meetings. “We’re actually down to single digits as far as what’s left,” said Trenary.
Fuel provider Air BP has released dates for its nationwide two-day safety and quality-control seminar series. Airport personnel, pilots, FBOs and flight department employees are invited to learn about current safety regulations with trainers Walter Chartrand and Dave Ware.
Business aviation investor consultant Brian Foley Associates is seeing signs that the pre-owned business jet market could bottom out as early as this summer. “That’s not to say there’ll be an immediate decrease, just that [pre-owned inventory] won’t get much higher,” noted company president Brian Foley.
NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) have begun television and newspaper advertising for their ‘No Plane No Gain’ initiative to tout the utility of business aircraft and to counter severely negative images, generated during the bailout debate, of corporate executives jetting about the country in plush cabins with cushy seats and wood-paneled interiors.
After a grueling quarter of massive price destruction, a wave of opportunistic buyers has begun to surface and infiltrate the pre-owned jet market. The current economic environment coupled with the public flogging of private jets and their owners has created a sea of discounted jets in all shapes and sizes. There is a growing perception by many that now is the time to buy.