EBAA Survey Highlights Business Travel Expectations

 - September 18, 2020, 9:14 AM

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

Just over half of the participants (53 percent) in a European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) webinar held on September 17 expect to see an increase in business travel over the next five years. Just over a third (34 percent) said they see a reduction, while 13 percent predicted “no significant change” as the industry tries to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

EBAA also asked its audience what they see as the biggest risk to business aviation today. Environmental concerns leading to fewer customers and higher taxes were identified by 51 percent of respondents, while 30 percent pointed to increasing regulation that will make operators unviable, 13 percent to a declining customer base, and just 6 percent to skills shortages.

The group also asked the webinar audience what they feel will have the biggest impact in the next 30 years. More than four-fifths identified factors associated with moves to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint, namely electric aircraft (42 percent), eVTOL technology (23 percent), and sustainable aviation fuel (20 percent). Single-pilot operations were selected by 8 percent and direct online flight booking by 7 percent.

The webinar also addressed the state of the insurance market for business aircraft. Reece Vowles, co-chair of the risk management committee of EBAA’s Associate Member Advisory Council, said Covid-19 has disrupted what had been expected to be a year of recovering profitability for insurance companies burdened by heavy losses from other aviation sectors in recent years. From his vantage point as an underwriting manager with insurance group Global Aerospace, he said that although risk exposure had somewhat reduced from lower flying activity, there have been losses from factors such as aircraft towing accidents and “hangar rash” incidents.

His fellow co-chair Amine Ratl, who is a director of international health care providers Golden Care, urged companies to take steps to better understand the risks they face in order to be better able to mitigate them. “Let’s move away from seeing insurance just in terms of uncontrolled factors that can intervene [in our operations] and encourage members to understand the many stages of risk, such as when moving aircraft, or flying or maintaining them, and when they have to be diverted.”

Zoe Layden from aviation insurance group Claveaux Consulting advised operators to consider insuring what she described as intangible assets. She advocated getting coverage for excess costs associated with situations such as when a third party charter has to be arranged at short notice. “It’s insurance for intangible costs that hit the bottom line, effectively AOG [aircraft-on-ground] insurance,” she said.