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Dealer's 2024 outlook gives cause for confidence
Jetcraft CEO Chad Anderson says we can look to the future with optimism despite geopolitical and economic challenges. He discusses the return of the corporate buyer, in-demand jets and overcoming challenges.
Jetcraft CEO Chad Anderson is looking to 2024 with optimism.

While this year began with an uptick for global business aviation, traffic was three per cent down on the same period in 2023, according to the WingX weekly Global Market Tracker report. But despite this small decline, Anderson says the data and experience indicates a strong year ahead. And, with the right approach to overcoming challenges, the industry can thrive as it powers economic growth, facilitates face-to-face business meetings and delivers real value to new entrants.

Ever Forward, Jetcraft’s 2023 Business Jet Market Forecast, shows that business aircraft transaction values hit a record $16.3 billion in 2022, in part driven by the return of the corporate buyer.

With Jetcraft data showing some 60 per cent of purchases came from corporations, which had been briefly overtaken by individuals at the height of the pandemic, he explains there’s a clear consensus among businesses that videoconferencing is no replacement for in-person. Across the corporate world, people are reaffirming and rebuilding international relationships with clients and colleagues through face-to-face meetings.

And there is every reason to expect this will continue to drive the industry during 2024, not least because the value buyers are getting from their aircraft is also demonstrated in Jetcraft's data. It found that usage among corporate and individual buyers doubled since 2020. With an average flying time of 135 hours per year in the last five years, jets are playing an important role for people with limited time.

The pandemic also prompted multiple new entrants; first-time buyers who previously had the means to fly privately but not the inclination, who have helped drive the speed and strength of the industry recovery.

Many of these new entrants have tested the waters with charter and fractional ownership, which have become more accessible as the wealth of ultra-high-net-worth individuals has increased, and will go on to full ownership.

When it comes to assessing the aircraft driving this growth, looking at the influential and mature US industry often gives valuable insights into the likely evolution of other markets globally. 

In the US, demand for large, long-range jets has remained high in the past year, driven partly by UHNWIs seeking to meet pent up demand for intercontinental business trips.

There will also be an increased share of larger jets entering the pre-owned market between now and 2030 as a result of OEMs focusing on mid and large size jets, and a significant number of pre-owned light jets being retired over the next five years.

In-demand large jets right now include Bombardier’s Global 5000 and 6000 and Challenger 604 and 605, the Gulfstream G450 and G550 and the Dassault Falcon 7X. 

Despite strong demand and significant potential, there will be challenges for the industry too. The US presidential election introduces uncertainty, and global macroeconomic and geopolitical turbulence remains. There is also a shortage of skilled labour, while supply chain issues have resulted in OEMs facing constraints when attempting to get new aircraft out the door.

But the supply chain has already begun to improve, while many buyers will be unaffected as a result of making effective use of the pre-owned market.

Ultimately, the industry has strong fundamentals in place; more active corporate buyers, corporations and individuals enjoying significant benefits from their aircraft. While external factors will drive the industry’s ebbs and flows, Anderson believes we can look to 2024 with optimism.

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