Business jet demand is weakening as the global economy continues to falter, says J.P. Morgan in its December Business Jet Monthly report. The analyst sees little sign of improvement, citing recent increases in used aircraft inventory and a second consecutive monthly decline in flight operations. Also, the analyst notes Hawker’s slowing of the Hawker 200 and ’s falling book-to-bill ratio in the most recent quarter as signs of a stalling market.
While the high end of the market is more vibrant, “light jet weakness has been a persistent theme and increased U.S. activity appears needed to turn it around.” Emerging markets have supported growth in large jet demand, though, the analyst says. Used inventory of in-production models has increased for four consecutive months. Inventory crept up 30 basis points (bps) in November to 11.1%, marking the first month about 11% since April. The increases have nearly erased most of the improvement reported in the first half of the year. Inventory has increased 80 bps since July and is “now down only 20 bps year-to-date,” the analyst says.
Gulfstream,and Bombardier used aircraft inventories all increased. But and inventories inched downward by 0.1% each.
On a more upbeat note, average asking price increased to $10.71 million, recovering slightly from the low set in July of $10.62 million. “Stabilization is a good sign, but we would like a firmer trend and/or a return to inventory declines before drawing positive conclusions about new jet demand,” J.P. Morgan says.
Pricing improvements were primarily in the heavy and medium jet sectors. Light jet prices still fell 0.9%.
Flight operations is another market indicator followed closely by the analyst, which notes that business jet operations declined in consecutive months in September and October—the first time that has happened since late 2009.