How did our 2012 predictions fare?


In January 2012, Alasdair Whyte, editor of Corporate Jet Investor, predicted what would happen in the rest of the year as part of Corporate Jet Investor’s One Minute Week. Here is how many proved right…



They say only a fool predicts the future. If that is true, clearly only a complete idiot emails it to several thousand people and then posts it on a webiste. With that disclaimer; here is my forecast for 2012.

Regulation and tax

Governments all over the world are looking to cut deficits. Private aviation will continue to be a popular target in 2012. Italy and India are already looking at new taxes for jet and helicopter owners and there is a danger that important markets with presidential elections – including the US, France, Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela – could follow. [Not bad, one of the big stories of the year was the seizing of N registered jets in Brazil by tax authorities]

Anti-jet rhetoric in the US will return as the election gets going. [Safe prediction which happened]

Fractionals and charter operators could benefit from this as corporates decide not to buy their own aircraft and there will also be super-mid-size orders by NetJets and Flight Options. [NetJets ordered lots of larger aircraft, Flight Options did not. Also failed to predict VistaJet orders].

However, once the elections are over in the US we will see aircraft deals returning. [Didn’t happen]

Asia and China will keep growing

China will also see a new leader this year and whilst this could delay much needed airspace reform it will not affect demand for aircraft – both helicopters and jets. [In fact as the year progressed there were signs that demand was weakening]

Chinese buyers will also start buying smaller aircraft as well as large cabin ones. [Again this did not really happen]

India will see growth but the fleet will not grow as fast as China. [True but pretty obvious prediction]

Demand in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and other markets will continue to be strong – both for pre-owned and new aircraft. [True]

All quiet in Western Europe

It would be great if European countries could quickly agree a solution to the Euro crisis; but they won’t and it will be a quiet year for business jets. [It was]

Despite this, EBACE attendance will be up on 2011. [It was]

Eastern Europe and Russia (which joins the WTO this year) will become increasingly important markets. [Russia did, Eastern Europe disappointed]

Middle East and Africa worth watching

There clearly is still a lot of political uncertainty in the Middle East and North Africa. However, corporates and individuals in Saudi Arabia will buy a lot of aircraft in 2012. [This was over optimistic]

Demand for helicopters and business jets in West Africa – particularly Nigeria – will continue, although lack of finance may hold growth back. [Not really a prediction as I hedged carefully]

Finance will split into two markets. The US market will get even more competitive which is good news for all buyers, including pre-owned ones. [This happened]

Basel III bank regulations will make it easier for strong credits to find finance [This happened, but to be honest, we’re not sure if Basel drove this].

Weaker international buyers will have a tough year. [Safe prediction and true for 2013 too]

In Asia international banks will start financing aircraft registered on the Chinese mainland. [This happened]

More cash will become available in the utility helicopter market. [True although this was pretty safe prediction]

At least one commercial aircraft leasing company will start financing helicopters [Lease Corporation International] and there will be other new entrants into this market – including banks and lessors following Milestone’s success. [Also happened]

And in other news…

The San Francisco 49ers will take the Super Bowl. [Wrong, it was the New Year Giants]

Mumbai Indians will win the Indian Premier League (cricket). [It was Kolkata Knight Riders]

China will again top the Olympics medal table. [Yes, but a safe prediction]

…and despite some people believing that the Mayan Calendar says it will, the world will not end in 2012. [Fortunately true]