The CEOs of Bombardier, Dassault Falcon Jet, Embraer Executive Jets, and Textron Aviation shared the stage last week and common views on the state of the industry and its greatest post-pandemic challenges at the JetNet Summit in New York City. All reported “robust” demand with sales “on acceleration,” as Bombardier’s Eric Martel put it, driven by new-to-business-aviation customers.
These customers are often buying midsize, super-midsize, and large-cabin, not entry-level, jets and the manufacturers have adapted their sales processes to “provide a collaborative environment” to educate them on ownership, according to Embraer Executive Jets president and CEO Michael Amalfitano. All four leaders cited supply chain issues, workforce shortages, and demands for sustainability among the industry’s most critical issues ahead. The supply chain is challenged by shortages of personnel, material, working capital, and even shipping containers, limiting OEMs' ability to increase production.
Longer-term, a shortage of skilled labor presents a “fundamental underlying problem,” driven in part by demographic changes, said Textron Aviation chief Ron Draper. Panelists stressed the need to attract a much larger and diverse population into the industry.
Meanwhile, amid increasing demands for sustainability and with no alternative to current engine technology, all four agreed expanding the use of sustainable aviation fuel is—as Dassault’s Thierry Betbeze put it—“the only way that makes sense” to reduce business jets’ carbon footprint in the near term.