The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many global markets and the business jet industry is no exception. To confront the rapidly changing global economic profile and develop a path forward for business aircraft, the International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) impanelled a prominent group of leaders and experts to calibrate the markets today and provide some insight into a timeline for recovery through a recent webinar.
“We are taking a leadership role in ensuring that the business jet industry becomes well positioned for a recovery," says IADA executive director Wayne Starling, who organised the webinar to address the current status and begin the process of developing long term solutions. “Over 450 of our members heard a distinguished panel articulate where we are today and the shape and timing for a recovery.
“We wanted to share the gist of that discussion with the rest of the industry, so we have compressed it into 14 minutes of highlights for anyone who is interested in where aviation is today and where it might be headed," Starling adds. The April 9 webinar highlights are available for viewing at on the IADA website.
Paul Kirby, IADA chairman and executive vice president of QS Partners, an aircraft sales and acquisition company whose parent company is NetJets, the world's largest private jet company owned by Berkshire Hathaway says: “The offer activity that we've had in the last 10 days is frankly really encouraging. Almost all of those offers have been within 10 to 12 points of what an airplane was worth on January 1st."
Michael Amalfitano, president and CEO of Embraer Executive Jets and OEM member of the IADA board of directors comments: “When you look at our aviation sector and the systemic nature by which the travel bans, the supply chain, the production plans, and the buying and selling activities are taking place, you might tend to say that it's going to take a longer period. Maybe a U-shaped or even an L-shaped type structure. It's going to take a long time to systemically recover. That might look more like 18-24 months to get back on the pace that we had been at."
Greg Byrnes, sales director at West Star Aviation, a large MRO with numerous facilities throughout the United States, said “We have seen the corporate flight hours drop 25 to 35 percent here in the last three weeks...Of course we were all hit hard and quick, and it was a big surprise. Some corporate flight departments have shut down temporarily. Others have gone under self-quarantine."
David Deitch, vice president of sales for Swiss-based Jet Aviation, which has maintenance and FBO facilities in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific, concludes: “People are sitting on the sidelines. They're watching, monitoring to see what happens out there today...We've heard from quite a few airline pilots that would like to get back into the corporate market, flight attendants as well."
IADA polled its members during the webinar, including dealers, brokers and products and services members. Over 78 percent said they expected a stronger second half and more than 65 percent indicated aircraft pricing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will drop 10 to 15 percent. More than 72 percent were very optimistic about the pre-owned business jet market post recovery while 58 percent were slightly optimistic about new aircraft sales.
In other news, IADA has appointed a board of directors composed of IADA-certified brokers to oversee AircraftExchange.com, the organisation's pre-owned aircraft search portal.
Chris Meisner, of Meisner Aircraft, has been named president and treasurer of AircraftExhange.com. Other officers are Walt Wakefield of Jet effect, serving as AircraftExchange.com's vice president and secretary, and Lee Thomas of Eagle Aviation as the organisation's vice president.
Board members at large are John Bowman of Hatt & Associates, Matt Stringfellow from Soljets, Nick Newby of Exclusive Aircraft Sales/Fargo Jet Center, Patrick Lynch of Guardian Jet, and Tyler Bowron from QS Partners.
“This distinguished team will provide the leadership and guidance to the marketing arm of IADA going forward, as we all deal with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic," says Wayne Starling. "They are all from IADA-accredited dealers and have all passed the stringent requirements to become IADA-certified brokers."