Used aircraft prices have gone parabolic since last year, first launching to lofty heights only to arc back down to earth. While the drop began just before last year’s NBAA Convention, at the show aircraft purveyors had that deer-in-the-headlights look as they shook their heads in disbelief as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 1,000 points during the three-day event, punctuating the beginning of a year-long correction in pricing.
StandardAero, well established in the airline engine MRO business, is refocusing its attention on the business aviation segment. While the company’s roots are intertwined with business aviation as far back as the early days of the Garrett (now Honeywell) TFE731 engine, StandardAero hasn’t done a lot of marketing to the business aviation community during the past few years.
The marketing hype surrounding very light jets (VLJs) has “largely subsided,” according to Brian Foley, president of business aviation consulting firm Brian Foley Associates, and the VLJ “has yet to prove that it’s anything more than a subcompact business jet.
The good news is that the bad news seems to have subsided for the time being and business aviation’s recent negative publicity served to make aircraft that much more affordable.
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.