AIN’s Business Aviation Fleet Analysis surveys the fleets of the world’s major fractional ownership programs and owned and operated charter providers, their replenishment plans, and the impacts of fleet refreshments on the preowned market.
The fractional fleets (Part 91K) contain 734 jets and 78 turboprops, according to JetNet, while owned and operated (O&O) charter fleets (Part 135/380) have 212 jets and 66 turboprops. Their fleet replenishment plans can’t be identified with the same precision. The two major fractional providers (Flexjet and NetJets) have announced firm orders and options in recent years for more than $20 billion worth of airplanes, but how many of such orders turn into deliveries isn’t clear.
“Everyone rushes to the microphone to announce the orders, but we don’t know the details of those deals,” said aviation consultant Rolland Vincent of Rolland Vincent Associates, noting, “The big order announcements don’t always turn into deliveries.”
“We all know those are just numbers,” added aviation attorney James Butler, CEO of Shaircraft Solutions, a specialist in fractional ownership issues, talking about well publicized fleet orders. “Even if [fleet operators wanted to tell you, I’m not sure that year-to-year they are committed to taking major blocks of airplanes, without knowing what’s selling and what’s the trend. They need to be flexible.”
Nonetheless, we asked most of these providers and the major OEMs about their replenishment and delivery plans. A number declined to provide answers (all the OEMs referred inquiries to their customers), but others were candid in discussing both plans and strategies. We also talked to these providers as well as aircraft brokers and consultants, and pored over transaction data, in trying to assess what happens in the preowned market when these fleet aircraft, singly or en masse, are retired from their fleets. This fleet analysis highlights some of what we learned.