Bizav Trends To Watch For In 2020, According To PrivateFly CEO

Credit: Bombardier

Key trends to watch for in business aviation in 2020 include an acceleration in electric aircraft, an increase in sustainability communication, a resolution of Brexit, more industry consolidation and other issues, says Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly, an on-demand private charter company.

“The next 12 months are set to bring more innovation and growth–including steps forward in our technology and more exclusive on-demand offerings for our clients,” Twidell said. “But what can the wider industry expect to see in 2020? Here are my predictions for the year ahead.”

First, acceleration in business aircraft. 

Business aviation will be the first subsector to implement electric aviation. The first generation of certified electric aircraft will include small and short-range aircraft because of weight limitations to the current batteries. Twidell predicts more lobbying to speed up the progress of electrification in aircraft development and in regulation and infrastructure. 

Sustainability communications will also be on the forefront. As a result of increased awareness, corporate and individual clients will become more thoughtful about their choice of flights. It will also create more opportunities in business aviation for tools and services to help companies manage their carbon footprint. 

Uncertainty surrounding Brexit has impacted business aviation in Europe. Following the recent UK general election, it appears that Brexit will be worked out in 2020 and the industry can now move forward, Twidell says.

Also likely in 2020 is more industry consolidation. It is important that clients are confident in the stability of their private aviation provider, he says. He also expects more acquisitions, mergers “and unfortunately some losses in Europe in 2020.”

New aircraft models will also be on the rise in 2020. While 2019 saw many long-awaited aircraft programs enter service, 2020 won’t compete for new models. But it is “set to be a year of significant growth for several recent market entries.” Embraer’s new Praetor 600 will lead growth in the super midsize sector and soon be joined by the Praetor 500. Bombardier plans to increase deliveries of its Global 7500. And he predicts “notable growth” in PC-24 deliveries and a “big year” for HondaJet. 

The year will also likely bring an increase in private jet demand spurred by more extreme weather. With events such as forest fires, hurricanes and heavy snowfall becoming more frequent, “we’re expecting more of this type of demand in 2020,” Twidell said. 

Finally, the UEFA 2020 European Championship will provide a welcome boost to Europe during the summer, he said. The soccer tournament will be hosted in 12 stadiums across Europe to celebrate its 60th anniversary. That will likely fuel on-demand travel requests from teams, corporations, sponsors and fans. 

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.