Business aviation on track for upswing, but it will take time

By Business Aviation, FeaturedNo Comments

With much still remaining uncertain across the aviation sector, the roll out of vaccinations in countries around the world has certainly provided a sense of optimism. And as the business aviation sector looks to the year ahead, Rollie Vincent, JetNet iQ Director is forecasting an upswing for the sector in the latter half of 2021.

Commenting in JetNet iQ’s latest Pulse report he said: “If we cast our minds back 12 months, it would be reasonable to suggest that no one had the forecasting prowess to foresee the year we are just emerging from.” However, he also referenced that the industry is now seeing signals of change. “Amongst the most encouraging are reports of new customers coming into the business and general aviation industry for the first time.”

He also noted that many colleagues and friends in the corporate jet sales and transactions world had recorded a bumper finish to 2020 with more transactions in the last quarter than the rest of the year combined. He added that “Each of the major business jet manufacturers is currently releasing new aircraft models and variants – Bombardier, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream and Textron – with very exciting advances and inclusions.”

Meanwhile Adam Twidell, PrivateFly’s CEO, argued that while the start of vaccination programmes is giving a sense of future optimism, recovery timelines remain hard to forecast. In his ‘private jet’ predictions for 2021 he said that, “While private aviation has seen increased demand from leisure clients, business travel as we knew it remains largely absent.” In 2021, he believes that many people will continue to work from home or remotely. “We’re already seeing clients with second homes in traditional summer destinations now travelling to them at anytime of the year and staying for longer – as they can work from there.”

He added that this blurring of work and leisure time will have an impact on routes and destinations. PrivateFly’s 2020 trends report has already highlighted that Nice has been more popular than Paris in recent months. “I think we’ll see this type of shift even further in 2021,” he said.

And with passengers increasingly looking to travel more responsibly and more thoughtfully, “a strong sustainability commitment is now an essential part of a private aviation service… with many more companies in our sector putting this front and centre of their proposition.” He also expects that with electric aircraft holding the key to a more sustainable aviation industry, the progress of this sector will accelerate in 2021 with Lilium, Joby, Eviation, MagniX, Pipistrel, Ampaire and XTI Aerospace all ones to watch within this space.

Twidell concluded that the pandemic is set to be a catalyst for change and with charter operators needing to combine to survive after such a challenging year we can expect to see “less fragmentation and the evolution of mega fleets… Big names – including our sister company Flexjet which has recently launched in Europe – will lead the way in setting standards.”