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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
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Altea gives snapshot of business aviation in 2024
Specialist consultancy Altea takes a look at the main trends in Europe that are impacting the business jet picture as owners, operators, FBOs and aftermarket providers navigate a fluctuating and complex path.

As international service providers consolidate and merge, fleets are undergoing transformation. Older aircraft are being upgraded to operate successfully along new, technologically advanced models. Values are being sustained via these discerning and astute refurbishment programmes and the undimmed pursuit of ever-greener aviation. "These advances are beginning to create a modern, efficient environment where speed, sustainability, service, safety and connectivity come together to deliver the flying experience that today's HNWIs, governments, public entities and businesses demand," says partner Andrew Butler.

Looking back over the past 12 months, business aviation has demonstrated resilience and stability in a turbulent and complex global environment. According to aviation data specialist WingX, a total of 740,152 business aviation flights were recorded in Europe in 2023, and although the industry did experience a slowdown towards the end of the year, there is strong evidence to suggest that the market is stabilising and returning to pre-COVID levels. Paris Le Bourget is Europe's fastest-growing airport, with London's Farnborough and Luton airports, and Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland, also topping the table.

"The groundswell of public opinion is forcing an emergence of greener travel in business aviation," continues Butler. "Altea is observing that environmental awareness is now guiding the choices of businesses, governments and individuals alike and this in turn is impacting the OEMs as they design and build aircraft for the future. The ability to adapt to these challenges is essential to ensure the industry's sustainable growth and success."

Business aircraft manufacturers are actively working on the development of more fuel-efficient and less polluting models using lightweight materials and more fuel-efficient engines. Interior design concepts are focusing on sustainability, including the use of recyclable materials, waste reduction and energy-efficient lighting, power and IFE. The implementation of new safety standards and emission norms has pushed the collaboration between aircraft OEMs and the upstream supply chain. The use of advanced parts, new materials and maintenance monitoring tools are other aspects of more recent business jet generations that reduce the complexity and sometimes need for routine maintenance, saving cost.

Butler goes on to say that recently, SAF was made available for all flights departing from Le Bourget, which is indicative of the steps being made: "Electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft promise more sustainable solutions for the future of private air transport, but they remain some way off. In addition, the continuing development of the advanced air mobility market is being closely watched. The proposed eVTOL aircraft could deliver significant advances in autonomous and sustainable transport when they are launched."

Inside the cabin, trends reveal a desire for more sophisticated entertainment experiences. The private aviation sector is redefining the travel experience by offering customers an array of integrated technologies, increased internet connectivity speeds and superior ambient sound systems, all in the palm of your hand via a smart phone.

“Customer tastes and preferences diverge globally with some desiring obvious opulence, whilst others are seeking a more pared-back ambience,” says Butler. “At Altea we do detect a growing demand for highly specified new aircraft, but the waiting time for delivery can cause customers to consider alternative solutions. As a result, we urge existing owners and those seeking pre-owned aircraft to consider a quantum leap re-fit on an available platform. Transformative interiors and major technology upgrades can deliver fast, cost-effective, personalised and highly satisfactory interim solutions while a new aircraft is on order.”

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