Flashback: As distressed Detroit drops its jets, bizav ponders the fallout

 - December 7, 2022, 8:08 AM

With AIN Media Group's Aviation International News and its predecessor Aviation Convention News celebrating the company's 50th year of continuous publication this year, AIN’s editorial staff is going back through the archives each month to bring readers some interesting events that were covered over the past half-century.

REWIND: (AIN January 2009 p.1) The news that General Motors and Ford are shutting their flight departments has rattled the business aviation community. Some attributed the actions to the sensational media coverage the “Big 3” (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) executives faced after flying to Capitol Hill in private jets, while others blamed the subsequent $14 billion House bill that called for the distressed companies to sell their aircraft as a condition of the bailout. But regardless of the reasons, the industry is now pondering how the closures—and the economic conditions that were to blame—will affect business aviation at large.

FAST FORWARD: While the automakers in particular may have felt the heat, other companies quietly followed suit and either closed or downsized their flight departments during the economic downturn. Though business jet deliveries topped 1,000 for the first time in 2007 and reached a peak of 1,313 in 2008, the corporate flight malaise that lingered over the next decade disrupted the replacement cycle and drove delivery totals down. If there has been any silver lining in the Covid pandemic, it has been the stimulus of the private travel industry, which has served to bolster the OEM order books.