The final days of 2020 are here, and they couldn’t come soon enough for some of us. What a year we have all experienced! As the old saying goes, “may you live in interesting times.” Some claim this phrase represents a curse, but I challenge you to reflect on how auspicious this year has been for corporate aviation. In the latter half of the first quarter, it felt as though the sky might be falling, but it did not. Rather, the pre-owned aircraft market refused to be bullied by fear and uncertainty. Instead of retreating, the corporate aircraft community held firm and provided invaluable access to safe travel in the new socially distanced world. We aren’t out of the woods quite yet, but with a successful vaccine announced recently, the path forward points to continued success for corporate aviation.
Since 2012, JETNET, a leading data firm for corporate aircraft and related activity, has tracked net optimism. The data has consistently shown that the corporate aircraft community maintains a 15% to 35% positive outlook on corporate aviation, and this number has never dropped into negative territory. However, respondents to the Q2 2020 survey reported an outstanding negative 42.6% sentiment on corporate aviation. During this same period, I wrote our monthly Aviation Expert Insights, The Great Pause. I noted in that article, “The sky is not falling. The largest economy in the world will not vanish, but rather, be redefined by optimistic visionaries who dare to step outside their comfort zones and change how they do business.” Since Q2 2020, the JETNET net optimism survey has jumped back to a positive 4.2% and an early estimate shows almost 20% of Q4 respondents now have a positive outlook for corporate aviation. The path forward appears to be gaining clarity.
What should we expect in 2021? The road to recovery should continue as the appetite for private air travel has only grown in the past 12 months. Inventory numbers have retreated approximately 10% off their peak from Q3 2020, mainly, due to a strong fourth quarter. Even though pre-owned aircraft prices took a hit of almost 5% in the heart of the pandemic, prices have since stabilized. For now, the outlook for 2021 will be continued recovery as we distance ourselves even further from the darker days of 2020. For over half a century, private aircraft have been the backbone of corporate America. Even with the landscape of corporate America shifting, the need for safe, reliable, and expedient air travel still exists. 2020 has been an interesting year, but the lessons learned are sure to propel this industry to greater heights in the years to follow.
I would like to wish each one of my readers a Happy New Year! May you have a treasured and prosperous 2021.
Those who know Ryan know his longtime passion for planes. As a matter of fact, Ryan soloed his first aircraft before receiving his driver’s license at age 16. Today, he holds multiple jet type ratings (LRJET, CL604 and B737) and is responsible for aircraft sales, brokerage, acquisitions, market analysis, data research and special projects. Ryan puts client needs first, always respecting time and understanding the importance of investments. Outside the world of aviation, Ryan enjoys spending time with his two children and heading out to the golf course as often as possible.
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