Survey Shows Optimism Returning Among Bizav Owners, Operators

NetJets fleet
NetJets fleet.
Credit: NBAA

Optimism among business aircraft owners and operators is returning, according to the latest JetNet iQ Global Business Aviation Survey.

While it is too early to say we are through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is difficult to ignore some positive signals. Used business-jet sales are up 12% in volume, inventory levels are healthy, and there is evidence more new customers are entering the business-jet market, whether through one-demand charter, fractional ownership or the purchase of aircraft, JetNet officials report. They did note transaction pricing has softened and overall utilization rates are muted.

After plummeting to record depths in the second quarter of 2020 as the pandemic took hold, optimism is rising, a survey of owners and operators shows. This conclusion is based on the metric that measures the difference between optimists and pessimists among business aircraft owners and operators.

Optimism reached a high during the second quarter of 2018 at 55.1%. In the second quarter of 2020, however, optimism levels dropped to a negative 42.6%. Early results of a fourth-quarter survey show levels in the positive column at 19.9%. The survey is about 40% complete, JetNet officials said.

“Although the improvement in market sentiment among business aviation’s customers will need to be sustained before we return to levels experienced in mid-2018, we are off on a good path toward being able to confidently sing about ‘Oh Happy Days,’” officials explained. “From the perspective of where we were positioned just six months ago, the business aviation industry is on a good trajectory toward recovery.”

Vigilance and good scenario-planning are “critical components” of organizational strategies to be prepared for opportunities in this dynamic market, JetNet officials added.

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.