CJI Town Hall: What US election means for business aviation


US business aviation can look forward to a busy fourth quarter if either the Republican Party candidate or the Democratic Party candidate scores a decisive win in the US Presidential Election on November 3rd, according to speakers at this week’s CJI Town Hall. But a contested election would create “a nightmare scenario”.

“If either candidate is a clear winner, the rest of the year will still be very busy,” Joe Carfagna Jr, Leading Edge Aviation Solutions‘ President and CEO, told the online Town Hall meeting. “If it goes the way of Trump, people who are corporate airplane owners will feel that nothing is threatened and it’s time to buy another airplane or a bigger airplane.”

If  candidate Joe Biden is the decisive winner, people will “rush for year-end purchases” to make sure they buy an aircraft before the provision of the 100% bonus depreciation may be withdrawn.

‘Doomsday scenario’

“The Doomsday scenario is the contested election,” said Carfagna. “If that drags over the course of a number of weeks or months, it will cripple the corporate jet market and everything else for that matter.” Prolonged legal wrangling over the election result would create “a terrific amount of uncertainty” which would undermine confidence in both the corporate jet market and the stock market.

Steve Varsano, The Jet Business founder, said uncertainty could sometimes bring opportunity but agreed that a second term for President Trump would undoubtedly boost business aviation. “There is so much uncertainty in the world. But, in our industry, where there is uncertainty, there is opportunity.” Varsano told delegates.

‘Time to get into the market’

“There are a lot of people out there who are opportunists and who think it’s time to get into the market and are being pushed over the edge by the fact that they can’t travel on the commercial airlines.”

Turning to the US election, Varsano said: “For our industry, there’s no question about it. If Trump does not win, we have a big problem. Joe mentioned about bonus depreciation – that is a big thing.” A prospective Democratic Party government would “try to take that law out”.

In contrast, President Trump was a supporter of business aviation, he said. “For the economy in general and its momentum and business aviation, it is better if you have someone who is a fond believer and a mascot for business aviation and Trump certainly is that.”

Varsano, who holds dual US and British nationality, made clear his comments referred to the impact of the election solely on business aviation “and nothing else”.

Commenting on the Town Hall discussion board, Fabrizio Poli, founder of Orville Aviation, said: “If Trump wins, and I think he will, business jet sales will go through the roof. If Biden wins, expect a disaster.”

The online meeting took place yesterday (October 1st) and you can listen again here. Today, President Trump revealed he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus and are now in quarantine.

Meanwhile, if you have strong views about the impact of the US Presidential Election on business aviation, please contact Mike Stones.

Steve Varsano: “Uncertainty brings opportunity in our industry.”