Despite several consecutive economic crises, the European business aviation market continues to report growth at a moderate pace. Currently, the region’s fleet size equates to approximately 3,500 business jets, with the majority of them affiliated with Western European owners and operators. AviaIM Jet Trading experts forecast that despite short-term market volatility, the long term perspective for regional fleet numbers of private and corporate aircraft is very likely to increase to as many as 5,000 units. However, the regional market is likely to face some changes as the developing trends shift towards Eastern and Northern Europe.
‘Due to the extensive variety of aircraft types which may be used for private, corporate or charter purposes, there is no industry-wide consensus over the exact size of the business aviation fleet in Europe. While some claim that there are approximately 2,500 aircraft, others state the current figure exceeds 4,000. According to our statistical data, today in Europe there are around 3,300 aircraft which may be classified as business jets. In any case, it seems that some of these aircraft are likely to soon be relocated to other countries and regions,’ commented Airida Kazlauskaite, a representative of AviaIM Jet Trading.
Unfortunately, burdened by financial problems, some of the Southern European countries, including Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece are not only lowering their demand for business aviation but are also likely to be the first in line for the sale of some of their fleet units to other market players. Crisis-induced lower pricelists along with sound visual and technical aircraft conditions have turned Europe into the premier pre-owned jets’ marketplace for business aviation representatives from around the world. While representing the largest business aviation market, North America is also the largest buyer in the European business aviation market. American owners trust EASA quality and safety standards as well as the attractive prices which are offered by financially burdened aircraft owners.
New vs Pre-owned
However, business jets in Europe are being sold on not only by troubled aircraft owners. Every global region has its own specific features. For instance, many American business jet owners are more or less indifferent whether the aircraft is new or pre-owned. The actual price and technical condition are a bigger priority to them than the production year. Meanwhile, Europe prefers to buy business jets straight from the assembly line. The latter presumes that by acquiring a newer jet, the owner is on-selling his or her older model, thereby complementing the existing offers on the European market.
‘North American customers are not the only market players. Affected much less by the latest crises, Central and Eastern Europe as well as Scandinavia are also intently observing the market offers. The previous five years have shown that these sub-regions are economically pragmatic, meaning that there are potential buyers of not only new, but used business jets as well’, noted the representative of AviaIM Jet Trading.
New development centers
Currently the Eastern European business jet fleet consists of approximately 400 aircraft, supplemented by over 250 jets registered in Northern European countries. The combined fleet of CEE and Scandinavia are likely to be the frontrunners in terms of business aviation developments in the upcoming decade. Considering the relatively rapid post-crisis restoration rates, the aforementioned economies not only provide local businessmen with the opportunity to acquire their own aircraft, but also drive the demand for business charters. This transpires as ‘white collar’ professionals are intensifying their interaction with other regions, consistent with the expanding activity of local companies.
Hawker Beechcraft has recently stated that numerous Central European countries have faced a significant jump in business jet deliveries from 2007-2011. Poland alone increased its deliveries by 160%. The figures shouldn’t surprise anyone as business aviation has a strong correlation with growth in national GDP. Indeed, the Polish GDP growth rate in 2011 exceeded 4%. The European authorities forecast that Eastern European economies will experience the highest GDP growth rates in the EU for 2012, with Lithuania to lead the list posting growth of 3.4%
‘There will always be demand for the ability to fly wherever and whenever one wants. With the European economy to continue its recovery, the demand will also be rising. As a result of such developments, we believe that during the following 10 years the European business aviation fleet will see a revival, increasing by roughly 150% and topping 5,000 aircraft,’ concluded Airida Kazlauskaite.
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