GLOOM AND BLOOM
UNCERTAINTY AND PESSIMISM ASIDE, WE AT JETGALA SEE THINGS A BIT MORE UPBEAT
Late last year, Honeywell Aerospace released its annual industry forecast, which painted a somewhat subdued snapshot of our industry. According to their crystal ball, business aviation orders are likely to continue to see slow growth, with only around 8,600 new business jet deliveries until 2016, with a total value of USD255 billion. If true, that would be more than five per cent less than the previous year’s prediction. Add to this the Trump presidency and its effects, with some seeing a silver lining, but others fretting over the effects of a possible trade war with Asia. Uncertainty and pessimism aside, we at Jetgala see things a bit more upbeat. Honeywell being an equipment supplier to OEMs, it naturally sees its side of things through the lens of hardware deliveries.
Yet, neglected in the report are two trends that show growth and promise. One is the advent of better organised and standardised charter operators, especially in high-potential markets like Asia. They offer a uniform fleet, sleek livery and cabins across all aircraft types, top class service standards — kind of an airline approach to private aviation. The undisputed pioneer in Asia for this business model is Zetta Jet, based in both Singapore and California, showing what is possible and tapping new growth potential in the process. Their fleet usage numbers are amongst the highest in the industry, and reviews are glowing. And sooner or later, many of their regulars may want to opt for having their very own aircraft.
The second important trend is online technology. Filling empty legs, pooling passengers with matching itineraries, last-minute cabin-sharing offers, and so on will grow fleet utilisation, and thus again provide growth. And just as with on-demand charter, it will familiarise a growing number of people with the benefits of flying private, making it more accessible, and thus provide impetus for future aircraft sales.
One result of these two trends is something Honeywell did get right — the growing need for larger aircraft. They forecast that over 85 per cent of money spent on business jets until 2021 will be for super midsize to large-cabin, and longrange aircraft. Top flight manufacturers like Embraer, Cessna and Bombardier are responding to the market.
So, the skies are not as grey as some of the cold forecast numbers may suggest. We all wish you safe travels and happy landings in the year ahead.