Jet industry stirring, but still hospitalized

October 16, 2013

There are reasons to be optimistic—something the jet industry has searched for since the economic decline in 2008. Pundits have famously issued premature forecasts of a turnaround almost yearly. Not this time. The patient is stirring, but not fully awake, and discharge from the hospital is not yet a topic of discussion.

The data disagree when it comes to current jet flight activity. Avinode, a jet charter and management company, says there have been declines in actual business jet flights for the first nine months of 2013, year to year, with the United States down just 0.3 percent while Europe is down 2.6 percent. Avinode will discuss its report further during the upcoming National Business Aviation Association convention in Las Vegas Oct. 22 to 24. But switch to the J.P. Morgan report issued just 48 hours earlier, and you’ll find this: “US flight ops growth is the key positive trend we’ve seen, and a fifth consecutive y/y increase was registered in August, while the 3-month moving average is at its highest level since mid-2011.”

Avinode reports significant reductions in traffic by entry-level, light, and super-light jets over the past two years, “…due in large part to the waning popularity of the light jet sub-category.” Where are the jets going? Fast-growing destinations are Asia and Latin America, the Avinode report says. The largest jets are flying more, offset by fewer flights involving smaller jets.

J.P. Morgan’s Joseph B. Nadoll III writes in his summary for his report, “Aerospace and Defense, Business Jet Monthly October 2013,” that momentum “…is insufficient for us to abandon our caution.” He concludes, “All in, the data is looking marginally better but not enough to convince us we are approaching escape velocity for new jet demand.”

That said, Nadoll expects at NBAA that Dassault’s Falcon 5X will be “this year’s highest profile launch” to compete with the Challenger 300/350, Gulfstream 280, Legacy 500, and Citation X. Nadoll expects Gulfstream will put off a launch of its G450 (code named P42) until next year, but looks to Embraer for an upgraded Lineage 1000 and refreshed models from Cessna Aircraft.