Business aircraft makers, particularly for larger cabin models, are seeing a return of U.S. corporate buyers, although the rebound is still in its early stage.
In the first quarter, Gulfstream saw 60% of new bookings come from the U.S. “That breaks a trend,” says company president Larry Flynn, noting that last year it was only 30$. “The U.S. is coming back strong,” he notes, with the pick up that began in the last quarter of 2011 appearing to last.
That view is echoed at. “The U.S. market and corporate buyer is emerging again, says Shawn Vick, Hawker Beechcraft executive vice president for customers. “Those with strong balance sheets are stepping up,” he says.
While there is a general feeling there is pent-up demand from U.S. corporate buyers – who have largely been on the sidelines for the last three years – just when the vast majority return is not certain.
Jean Rosanvallon, president and CEO ofFalcon Services that while “we see a few signs of some Fortune 500 companies coming back,” he adds “we are really anxious to see a real recovery in the US market.” The market has not fully opened up again, he argues.
One issue that could still delay a full-blown recovery are the U.S. presidential elections in November, he suggests. Business aircraft sales have been a hot button political issue in the U.S. in recent years.