This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Even with a robust rebound in business jet flight activity since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, industry analyst Brian Foley doesn’t believe it will translate to a surge in orders for and deliveries of new business jets, according to a report released today by Brian Foley Associates. The pandemic’s lasting effects on private air travel won’t be known for some time to come, he added.
In his analysis, “Bizjet Makers Downsize Despite Rebound in Private Air Travel,” Foley acknowledged that telephones of charter operators “are ringing off the hook, and jet card sales…are selling like crazy.” And while it would seem logical that an upturn in new business jet production would follow, he pointed out that owning and maintaining a business jet is “a multimillion-dollar proposition," limiting the buyer base to those with the “financial will and wherewithal”—many of whom already own a business jet. “Repeat buyers will wait for some of the economic uncertainty to subside before risking capital,” he wrote.
Moreover, many charter operators won’t be in the market for new jets since much of their fleets are managed versus owned. Fractional operators also won’t be buying new jets until they see new travelers move from buying jet cards to shares.
It is for those reasons why the Big Three OEMs—Bombardier, Gulfstream, and Textron Aviation—have shed thousands of jobs to date and aren’t expecting any meaningful pickup in jet orders in the near term, Foley concluded. “There will inevitably be some new jet sales uplift from lasting concerns over traveling in large groups, but that will take a while to materialize,” he wrote.