Convenience, Markets, Advances Lead to General Aviation Backlog
By Mark Hengel
Little Rock, Ark.'s AirResource Group's co-founders Carl Finch and Cheri McKelvey function as brokers for private and business airplanes, while also helping owners with staffing and management. Recently, they uncovered a new business segment--assisting individuals in purchasing new aircraft. Two of the leading general aviation makers, Hawker Beechcraft Corp. and Dassault Falcon Jet Corp., have completion plants at the Little Rock National Airport. McKelvey notes that her firm has acquired a clientele that symbolizes the global demand in business aviation. Advances in small and mid-size aircraft have created higher demand, and the ability to circumvent commercial airlines is causing numerous companies to invest in aircraft. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association believes that South America and Asia will especially become a big factor in general aviation. Central Flying Services chairman Dan Holbert cautions that while the U.S. corporate aviation sector is doing well, less pilots are flying, which means fewer planes will need scheduled maintenance. Also, fueling the demand for private planes are firms that permit other firms to buy shares of a jet in what is called fractional ownership, a kind of timeshare deal. Corporations such as NetJets and Flexjet currently provide partial ownership to firms that want to fly privately.
October 17, 2008