For the corporate jet market, the last 18 months of the noughties may have left many clinking in 2010 with a glass of Prosecco rather than a Nebuchadnezzar of Perrier Jouet’s Belle Epoque. Neil Poland, global head of aviation at Norton Rose Group, summed up the situation:
“There’s been quite a lot of poor press for the corporate jet market. Prices are down, values are down, orders are down and manufacturers are cutting work forces. Inventory of used aircraft has increased enormously over the last year.”
However, despite the downturn, business aviation charter operations have started up in 2009 with aggressive expansion plans. Three such organisation are the Abu Dhabi based Al Jabar Aviation (with a mixed fleet of Airbus and Embraer jets), Oxford based Flairjet in the UK (with two Embraer Phenom jets and Legacy and Lineage jets on order) and Icelandic charter company Icejet (seeking to add larger and longer range jets to its all Dornier 328 fleet). Whilst the business fraternity may have been shamed into cancelling their business jet orders, the charter operators have taken advantage of the reduced manufacturer prices and have seen an opportunity for targeting local business owners travelling in Europe and the Middle East.
Nevertheless for many the outlook for 2010 is still very uncertain. The tenth annual aviation convention and exhibition in Geneva, Ebace, is unfurling the red carpet in May. We shall publish our report from that event along with the views of manufacturers, financiers and business aviation personnel at large in the Spring edition.