The business jet industry is poised for a quick recovery, Teal Group v-p of analysis Richard Aboulafia said during a virtual presentation this morning to the Wichita Aero Club. That prediction comes despite a number of contradictory business aviation indicators, including lower corporate profits but strong performance in the equities markets. “I’m also concerned about oil prices,” he said. “Although there again, you’re getting a bit of a recovery. They had been quite bad last year.”
Further, business jet deliveries and utilization were down in 2020, while airframers laid off staff—all likely a function of the pandemic, Aboulafia said. But, he explained, utilization has recovered faster than that of commercial aviation and gathered steam last year primarily from charter and fractional operators.
Additionally, the number of available aircraft for sale remained fairly low. “Going back to that visit I paid [Wichita] in 2008, that was a heart attack moment—21 percent of the fleet was available for sale,” Aboulafia said. “That was a catastrophic number. Today, it’s less than 10 [percent] and no real upward pressure.”
Despite the mixed indicators, Aboulafia is optimistic that a rebound is coming soon for the industry. “If I had to summarize all of this information and all of these contradictory indicators, I would just say, ‘Hey, it’s so much better than 2008,’” he said. “There’s so much more hope that we…start seeing a recovery even in the back half of this year.”