Business Flying Lights Up General Aviation Firmament

 - March 18, 2014, 2:50 PM

While the FAA acknowledged that “economic uncertainties” still affect the business jet market, the rate of decline slowed last year and the agency expects a recovery in the near term. In its annual 20-year aerospace forecast, released last Thursday, the FAA is calling for “robust growth” in the long term, driven by higher corporate profits and the growth of worldwide GDP, although at rates slightly lower than those predicted last year.

According to the FAA, continued concerns about safety, security and flight delays keep business aviation more attractive than airline travel. Now, however, industry experts and prior years’ survey results confirm that a significant portion of piston aircraft hours are being used for business purposes. In fact, the FAA expects the business use of all types of general aviation aircraft to expand at a faster pace than their use as purely personal and recreational transportation.

Although the total number of general aviation hours flown is projected to increase by only 1.4 percent annually over the 2014 to 2034 forecast period, the FAA sees faster growth in number of hours after 2023, with increasing use of both single- and multi-engine piston aircraft as the aging of this fleet starts to slow down.