Slightly anticipating the northern hemisphere’s darkest day of the year, we have a report which indicates that business aviation may at last be out of the trough and on the long road to recovery. However, just as there are many grim days which follow December 21st before spring arrives, Forecast International projects a long and rocky road to good health. In fact, next year’s business aviation sector is set for continued stagnation, with real growth not coming until 2013. And guess what, 2008’s record delivery of 1,300 jets is not forecast to be equalled until 2018!
Throughout the industry’s tortuously long recession, the pain has not been spread evenly. At the ‘bottom’ end of the market, the light jet manufacturers and operators have seen their customer base wither in the cold economic climate. In contrast, the top end of the market, featuring the largest and most expensive jets, has flourished in the glow of growth in the global ‘super wealthy’ bracket, especially in BRIC markets. This imbalance was reflected last week: Hawker Beechcraft have shelved the Hawker 200, their latest assault on the light jet market (expect HBC to add to the 800 layoffs already this year), whilst Bombardier have posted 30% quarterly profit increase and has dominated the headlines this year with orders for its luxury long range Global jet series.