The general aviation market has seen a boom during the Covid pandemic this year, with the piston airplane market up as much as 35 percent from the fourth quarter and the current supply of aircraft under 1 percent, according to aircraft appraisal and data tracking provider Vref. Older and smaller business jets, as well as single-engine turboprops, have also seen a resurgence of late.
The company calculates its top-valued aircraft based on activity such as reported closings, completed appraisals, and valuation from Vref Online. In its first-quarter market trend report released yesterday, Vref noted that older jets with some refurbishments are still desirable entry points into the market for first-time buyers, with aircraft such as the Gulfstream G550, G450/IV/IV-SP, Bombardier Challenger 604, and Embraer Legacy 600 topping large-cabin jet sales activity.
Demand in the small to midsize segment is outstripping supply, according to Vref, with Cessna Citations, Challenger 300/350s, Embraer Phenoms, Learjet 40s and 60s, BeechJet 400s, and Eclipse 500/550s generating the most interest.
Also heating up is the single-engine turboprop market, with activity across the spectrum from turboprop conversions to new Piper M600s ramping up as owner-pilots are seeking to add more range and speed in their post-Covid travels. Beechcraft King Air 90s and 350s are also seeing “enormous demand” in the preowned segment.
“Current market activity is somewhat of a feeding frenzy, with many aircraft going under contract without ever being listed for sale on the open market,” Vref president Jason Zilberbrand told AIN. “Based on current activity levels and availability, we do not expect much change in the coming months.
"As more people start to travel and borders begin to open, air travel will resort to pre-pandemic levels," he added. "As inventory remains at historic low levels, premium pricing will continue, which should help drive new aircraft orders and deliveries in the future."