Alasdair Whyte

Tailwinds on the way

The exact timing of this week’s announcement by Michelle Pfeiffer and BioNTech may not have pleased everyone, but it is great for Corporate Jet Investor Americas next week. Things will not change quickly but it is a welcome development. The one thing you can be sure of is that things will not return to normal. The on-demand sessions and pre-conference calls show that this is one of the key themes of the event next week. Other key themes are:

UHNWIs see the value and should stay
The past six months have seen tens of thousands of individuals pay to fly privately (a lot had flown with work or friends before). As everyone knows, business aviation is addictive and many of these will be buyers in a few years.

Businesses are waiting – but have not given up
Business travel is down drastically but we are not seeing the same number of companies looking to sell aircraft as during the Global Financial Crisis. Companies want to have business aircraft for when they can travel – especially with airlines.

The US operator landscape is being reshaped at the top
In the past two years, six of the top 10 largest business jet operators have acquired or merged with another company. More mergers, new offerings (like FXAIR from Directional) are coming. XO’s acquisition of 15 Citation light jets this week is another example of this.

New customers want simplicity, peace of mind and connectivity
Buying an aircraft will stay complicated for a while, but thanks to new technology and connectivity owning one is becoming easier.

2020 has been tough for everyone
There have been lots of stories about how private aviation companies have boomed in 2020. In truth, very few have (including a couple speaking next week). For most it has been a grim year and there is a big question if some businesses will survive until vaccination is widespread. The good news is that the industry should benefit from a lot of tail winds (new users, airlines cut back and others).

We still have more than 10 hours of live content and networking to come – and there will be other themes to emerge, but thanks to the vaccine we can now start to look beyond Covid-19.

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