The “lost decade” for business jets might soon be over, according to Citi Research U.S. aerospace and defense senior equity analyst Jonathan Raviv. Citi introduced its “lost decade” thesis in 2013, which said that excess aircraft production in the 2000s created a “shadow” preowned inventory that led to an anemic post-Great Recession recovery.
“Business jet sentiment continues to improve in light of the high-quality preowned jet inventory dwindling, an overhang that put a lid on new jet demand that led to the lost decade,” he wrote late last week. “In recent months we heard a variety of market participants suggest that high-quality used inventory had ‘evaporated.’ And now we hear the word ‘surreal’ with regards to the rapid market improvement without an identifiable catalyst.”
The only “good explanation” for this is increased economic confidence, Raviv said. Tax reform could be helping to boost this confidence, he added, but only a “minority” identified tax reform alone as the reason for their purchase. Perceptions that deals are drying up might also be driving buyers to buy, according to Raviv. He particularly noted “incremental excitement” for the large-cabin business jet market.
“Now that the good deals are anecdotally few and far between, the next step is buyers turning to the new market,” he concluded. “We’ll have to see backlogs build more before OEMs raise production.”