Marking a reversal from a year ago, business aviation has turned into a seller's market in the Asia-Pacific region with transactions on the rise. However, while still at high levels, optimism over the economy in general is beginning to ebb, according to Asian Sky Group’s latest Asian Sky Quarterly report.
The report, which focuses on pre-owned business jets and civil helicopters in the Asia-Pacific region, found that the number of transactions has steadily increased in the second quarter of each of the past three years—from 70 in 2016 to 83 in 2017 to 96 this year. Percentage of the fleet for sale in the region dipped below 8 percent in the second quarter, following a worldwide trend—which hovered around 7 percent, according to the ASG report. Asking prices, meanwhile, strengthened.
The ASG analysis found a seller's market for most the large-cabin purpose-built business jets, while the VVIP variants of airlines still remained in a buyer's or balanced market. And the VVIP variants remain on the market longer.
“Over the course of the last 12 months, the business jet market has swung almost 180 degrees from where it was in Q2 2017 to where we find ourselves in Q2 2018 seeing the emergence of a strong seller’s market manifested by lower inventory levels and rising prices,” said ASG managing director Jeffrey Lowe. “However, optimism, which has been on a steady rise since Q2 2016, finally plateaued in the last quarter.”
While the market is strong, Lowe added, “We are seeing small pessimistic feelings popping up which could be an ominous trend for the future.” More than half of the participants in an ASG survey in the second quarter believe the economy has passed its low point and is improving. But the number that believe the economy has not yet reached a low point and will worsen is 16 percent, a 5 percent increase and the highest rate of response since the third quarter of 2017. Optimism dropped throughout the region, led by a 12 percent decline in Greater China.