“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. ”
Bizav: The Next 10 Years
We’ve witnessed many changes in the business aviation field since BJT began publishing 10 years ago. What needs to happen in the next decade and what will happen? We asked some seasoned observers to offer their thoughts and predictions. Though recent times have been tough for this business—and for the world economy in general—most of them spoke with great optimism about the years ahead. We published excerpts from their comments in our October/November 2013 issue. Their remarks in full appear below.
An Aging Fleet Will Prompt Changes
Big changes will result from aging of the fleet, which will impact costs of operation, costs of regulatory compliancy and obsolescence. Many banks won’t lend money for aircraft more than 10 years old and many emerging markets won’t import them. I believe this will cause enormous shrinkage to our fleet. There may continue to be a paring down of manufacturers as well. Increased costs of operating older fleets, coupled with the lower residual value on exit from fractional programs, will affect that business model.
The market for business jets will continue to become more global. International expansion will increase the reach of fractional programs. In the Chinese market, airspace will continue to be problematic. Also, while Chinese buyers now tend to want only new aircraft, they will gain more appreciation for preowned models as their airplanes age and they realize they must replace them.
—Jay Mesinger, CEO and president, J. Mesinger Corporate Jet Sales
For Some, Bizav Will Be the Only Option
When you look beyond the headlines about today’s economic challenges and focus on long-term trends, you find good reasons to believe the future bodes well for business aviation.
First, as airlines curtail or eliminate service to smaller communities, business aviation often emerges as the only viable option for companies to meet their transportation challenges.
Second, the need for business aviation is increasingly being recognized on an international scale, as businesspeople travel to distant destinations, especially within the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China. In many cases, business aviation is the most efficient way to travel to and within these locations, and as the international business arena continues to be increasingly competitive, a company’s ability to reach its customers—around the clock, in real time—will be more important than ever.
As for the present: we must remember that all economic cycles are just that—cyclical.
—Ed Bolen, president and CEO, National Business Aviation Association
Range Will Be King
Seven thousand nautical miles will be the new minimum definition for “ultra-long range.” While development of a supersonic business jet will advance, airplanes cruising at about Mach 0.86 or slower will still dominate the market.
Because of this, the industry focus will shift toward cabin size and features that address the passenger experience on 12- to 14-hour missions. Amenities currently seen as extraordinary, such as full galleys and onboard chefs, will become de rigueur. All ultra-long-range airplanes will have sufficient water for proper showers and high-speed Internet with worldwide coverage.
A move towards more composite fuselages will increase weight efficiencies and improve performance. Airport and airspace congestion will be a significant challenge at major cities. New capabilities for managing the spacing between airplanes will help, but mandatory slot reservations will become typical for many international operations.
Community noise and environmental sensitivity will remain an issue. Biofuel alternatives will become common. New regulations will address pilot fatigue. Synthetic vision, Enhanced Vision and camera-aided eXternal vision will be common, but airplanes will still have large flight-deck windows a decade from now and, with any luck, I’ll still be looking out through one of them.
—Steve Taylor, president, Boeing Business Jets
The China Market Will Flourish
Asia represents an outstanding opportunity for the private aviation industry. China, in particular, offers phenomenal potential, with wealth that can support substantially more business aircraft than the approximately 170 that are there now. There are more than one million potential customers in China who have high net worth.
The private aviation industry faces challenges with regard to the development of infrastructure, but the Chinese government has made this an area of focus, particularly in its current five-year plan. This is a very positive sign. With plans to build dedicated private jet airports, much like Le Bourget in Paris or Farnborough in London, the infrastructure is developing, and we believe this will allow the private jet market to flourish.
Pending government approval, we’re planning to begin operating a management business in China next year and will look to grow into a fractional model when the time is right.
—Jordan Hansell, chairman and CEO, NetJets
Leased Shares Will Gain Popularity
In the next decade, the benefits of flying privately through shared-use investments like fractional will remain compelling. We’ll see the major fractionals grow to take better advantage of economies. At the same time, niche programs that serve discrete itineraries, especially on the East and West U.S. coasts, will survive.
As private flyers increasingly hesitate to take on the resale-market risk for shares in high-time, preowned aircraft, they may look to cabin that risk by leasing rather than owning, which also eliminates a major upfront capital cost while offering the same flying experience. To be sure, the transfer of the resale risk to the provider is baked into the lease cost. Nevertheless, subject to changes in tax law, leasing may become more the rule than the exception.
—James D. Butler, CEO, Shaircraft Solutions
Bizav Will Come of Age
Business aviation will enter a new paradigm. Gone are the days of the market being dominated by smaller independent operations. Increasingly competitive and legislated environments will drive a more commoditized market demand. Manufacturers that demonstrate a long-term contiguous product strategy, with global support capability, will win the day. So will service providers who are capable of managing increasingly sophisticated aircraft and market demands. As technology becomes cheaper and more durable, this—combined with economies-of-scale benefits—will dictate a lower cost-of-service, and also a lower environmental impact. I believe that the next decade will see corporate aviation finally coming of age.
—Niall Olver, CEO, ExecuJet Aviation Group
Globalization Will Drive Growth
Given the ever-present focus on corporate profitability, companies are likely to pursue aircraft that offer superior value. As such, we believe that demand for fuel-efficient, turboprop models will continue to grow. As technology advances, business aviation passengers will have unbelievable opportunities for increased connectivity. Cockpit crews will have access to the best avionics for superb situational awareness and their airframes and engines will continue to evolve for added safety. Flight crews and owner/operators will benefit from enhanced training, modern simulators and superior training aircraft.
Globalization will drive economic growth in developing countries. In particular, Asia will provide immense opportunities that travelers will be able to harvest using their business flying machines.
—Simon Caldecott, president and CEO, Piper
The Fleet Will More than Double
The number of business aircraft will more than double over the next decade and bizav will take place worldwide, with the BRIC states developing the most. New airplane platforms will allow nonstop flights to every spot on Earth. More advanced airports will facilitate traffic that is much more intense than today’s.
On the other hand, we will see an aging fleet. Therefore, the way maintenance is conducted and maintenance contracts are established will be more important. Long-term contracts, including refurbishment elements, will be seen as ways to safeguard optimal maintenance support and the highest reliability of the aircraft.
—Christoph Meyerrose, managing director and CEO, Lufthansa Bombardier Aviation Services
“Micro-commuter” Markets Will Emerge
I believe within 10 years business jets will be available for booking in online reservation channels where only airlines currently exist. Regulations that effectively prevent small jets from operating in scheduled service will disappear, allowing “micro-commuter” markets to emerge. As a result, the distinction between business and commercial aviation will blur, and business aviation will shed the stigma of being a toy for the rich and will no longer be a wedge for politicians to divide us.
—Alex Wilcox, CEO, JetSuite
Bizav Will Have Its Best Decade
It may be difficult to fathom, given the state of the industry in some corners of the world today, but I firmly believe that the next 10 years will be better than the prior 10, and in fact will be the best years business aviation has ever experienced. We are witnessing the beginning of a large-scale globalization of demand for the industry’s products and services.
We forecast that the business jet fleet will grow 36 percent worldwide over the next decade. Aircraft that offer intercontinental range and comfortable stand-up cabins, from the super mid-size upwards to the larger models, will be in high demand. Businesses that offer branded charter and concierge-style service levels that mimic the best features and conveniences of a full-ownership experience—without the hassles—will also be in strong demand.
—Rolland Vincent, creator and director, Jetnet IQ
Western Africa Will Take Off
The growth of our client base follows economic growth around the globe. Just look at the urbanization trends in China, the ASEAN countries, Russia, the “stan” countries, Mexico and South America. Newly created wealth in these areas creates the need for the services and security that our industry provides. In 10 to 20 years, Western Africa will become the next “Tiger” ASEAN region.
—Chris Holifield, president and CEO, Elite Aviation
The Fractionals Will Expand
Fractional programs’ high growth rates during the Internet and financial bubbles led to predictions of a fractional share in every upper-class household. Then came the economic collapse in 2008. Fractional owners liquified their jet shares via the 90-day exit provision, which created a liquidity crunch for fractional programs, then losses as the value of their inventories plummeted with the used-aircraft market. Exacerbating the problem, expenses ballooned as fractional programs maintained and crewed under-owned and under-flown aircraft. The pendulum had swung to the other extreme and the viability of fractional was in doubt.
Now that the dust has settled, fractional programs are fulfilling their destiny. They’re a boutique product for those willing to pay a premium for the consistency, reliability, availability, flexibility and safety of fractional travel. Fractional owners value these benefits and appreciate that their costs are much lower than they’d be for whole ownership of an underutilized jet. I predict slow, steady growth over the next 10 years for this mature market.
—Daniel Herr, FractionalLaw.com
Students Will Need Help
Good young people remain the key to our industry’s future. We need to encourage them to consider aviation careers and provide opportunities to obtain rewarding, well-paying jobs. Studying to become a professional pilot, and then building the flight hours needed to be eligible for employment, takes years and can be financially prohibitive. Even those who realize the goal can face relatively low starting wages. The number choosing aviation careers will continue to decline until, and unless, we solve this problem.
Let’s hope that in the future we’ll find ways to provide access to the funds needed to obtain the requisite ratings and flying experience. Thereafter, commensurate wages must be provided that reflect the training, skills and responsibilities of the individuals.
—Bruce Whitman, president and CEO, FlightSafety International
We’ll Fly Everywhere Nonstop
My guess is that we’ll be seeing trips to space for an afternoon, trips to the space station for the weekend and supersonic and hypersonic travel. As for business jets, aircraft manufacturers have been historically conservative about introducing game-changer innovations. However, we should see big advancement in alternative fuel usage; a hybrid helicopter/short-takeoff-and-landing aircraft, which will replace smaller, short-range jets; and nonstop aircraft to anywhere in the world narrowly brushing the Mach 1 line. I suspect Africa and China will each have 2,000 jets registered. Finally, I hope we will develop aircraft-for-sale reports that list those more than 20 or 30 years old in a separate category.
—Steve Varsano, founder, The Jet Business
Air-Taxi Services Will Thrive
The next 10 years will see the air-taxi business move beyond the overblown 2000s into a realistic growth phase driven by the steady march of technology and dissatisfaction with airline service.
Despite the hype of the last decade, it’s undeniable that very light jets and aircraft such as the Cirrus SR22 have made air-taxi service safe and cost-effective for a new group of private fliers. With advances like the Cirrus Vision Jet on the horizon, an ever-expanding percentage of the public will be able afford private aviation service using air taxis. Customer-facing technology in the form of Internet search will enable these travelers to connect with operators—think Expedia and Sabre for air taxi.
—Bill Herp, president and CEO, Linear Air
Leaders Will Need New Skills
One big change in business aviation in the next 10 years will be the nature of the skills its leaders will need. An evolving economic, political and regulatory landscape will require them to focus more on engaging stakeholders outside of our traditional comfort zone.
Today’s business aviation leaders face the industry’s toughest challenge yet—fighting off the effects of a prolonged economic downturn and the external forces of bureaucracy, taxation and regulation. These leaders have to aggressively make the case for our industry in ways we have never had to before. We need to advocate relentlessly at the local, state, national and even global levels. These are grueling, expensive and time-consuming battles—even though they shouldn’t be battles at all.
—Scott Ashton, president, Associated Aircraft Group
We’ll Witness Lower-Costs and Worldwide Growth
In the next 10 years, bizav will become even more attractive to those who choose to use it. Lighter airframe construction, more efficient power plants and more modular, reliable avionics will all help reduce costs.
The long-haul segment will continue to grow, fueled by expansion of the Far East markets. Specialized operators will successfully offer solutions to and within Africa and Russia. In North America and Europe, “closed fleet” providers will continue to grow and address a wide spectrum of business aviation needs, making use of underutilized capacity of other people’s fleets. The most price-sensitive consumers will be able to find a provider within this group that fits their budget.
Fractional ownership will continue to thrive and address the needs of clients seeking high-end personalized service and guaranteed access. Consolidation will streamline the industry and simplify choices available to the market. Fractional providers will offer more customized programs that will improve the price/value relationship for clients even more.
—George Antoniadis, president and CEO, PlaneSense
Sustainability Will Be Key
The challenge facing business aviation in the next 10 years is to demonstrate that the model is sustainable. Carbon offsets and increased fuel efficiency are nice, but in the long run, business aviation’s days are numbered if reliance on fossil fuels cannot be dramatically reduced and eventually eliminated.
Fortunately, the industry has been making impressive strides, and the first flight by a civil aircraft powered by 100 percent biofuel took place in Canada last year. I would hope the next 10 years will see advances in finding ways to build and operate business jets that will ensure the vitality of business aviation for the foreseeable future.
—Jeff Wieand, senior vice president, Boston JetSearch
The Customer Mindset Will Shift
A new customer mindset will change business aviation. Research shows that when it comes to making a decision about private jet travel, the aircraft is only one piece of the puzzle. Today’s savvy customers care about the totality of the experience and seek enhancements, such as celebrity-chef-curated menus, exclusive behind-the-scenes access and opportunities to interact with world-renowned experts. In the next 10 years, we’ll continue to see an intersection in our business between aviation and hospitality.
—Deanna White, president, Flexjet
Bilateral Agreements Will Fuel Growth
Contract maintenance is what ensures you have a flight-ready aircraft when and where you need one. Like the business aviation industry, contract maintenance is global, with repair stations opening across Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America. The specialists that ensure your aircraft is flight-ready cannot be suborned by protectionist legislation or thinking, as is the case now with the ban on FAA certification of new international repair stations. Over the next 10 years, bilateral agreements among nations will expand to ensure the steady growth of the business aviation industry and worldwide availability of flight-ready aircraft.
—Sarah MacLeod, executive director, Aeronautical Repair Station Association
Safety Programs Will Improve
Safety Management Systems (SMS) have been around for a few years now. However, many aviation executives have become overwhelmed with the mere thought of developing and implementing an SMS program. Fortunately, the concept is beginning to gain traction within general aviation as the benefits are slowly becoming obvious. I believe that over the next 10 years, more and more CEOs will see improvements in their company safety record and bottom line. A decade from now, no one will have an excuse not to have a plan in place.
—Bryan Burns, president, Air Charter Safety Foundation
Charter Choices Will Be Better
I believe we’ll see the number of low-end charter brokers and operators shrink. Meanwhile, the overall quality of the private aviation experience will improve. There will be a renewed push for regulation of brokers, which will result in closer alignment between brokers and charter operators. Lower-end providers won’t be able to meet the new regulatory requirements, allowing those that can to prosper. This will put pressure on marginal operators to raise their standards if they want to survive.
The result will be positive for passengers, as there will be more economic security when they buy from a broker, and they’ll be assured of a superior travel experience. The focus will be on higher standards of safety and service—not just on price and meeting minimum federal regulations. Ultimately, prices will stabilize and the low end of the market will go away, resulting in fewer but higher-quality choices for private jet charter.
—David Rimmer, president, ExcelAire
Aircraft Deliveries Will Total $269 Billion
Business aviation will continue its worldwide growth, increasing its penetration and acceptance, especially in high-growth economies. With wealth creation, global trade and replacement demand all trending positive, we forecast deliveries of business aircraft worth $269 billion worldwide in the next decade.
—Steve Ridolfi, president, Bombardier Business Aircraft
Large Aircraft Will Be Popular
It is difficult to find something in your office or home that is made in the U.S. The need for corporations to travel long distances will continue to favor larger aircraft. Though the world economy remains shaky, according to Forbes magazine, “The ranks of the world’s billionaires have reached an all-time high.” This burgeoning wealth bodes well for turbine aircraft long into the future.
—Fletcher Aldredge, publisher, Vref–Aircraft Value Reference
The Decade Will Be Difficult but Exhilarating
The next 10 years will be both difficult and exhilarating for business aviation. Pressures from tax authorities and regulators will make owning these aircraft more difficult. To maintain access to them, we’ll have to do a better job of championing their value. The effort will need to come from those who benefit from these aircraft—our business leaders.
China, India, South America and Africa will continue to emerge as business forces. Companies in the West seeking to compete globally will need the flexibility and speed business aircraft can provide. Business jet manufacturers will be happy.
—David Wyndham, president, Conklin & de Decker
Charter Will Become More Cost-effective
As airlines are becoming less and less reliable for long‐distance travel, older business jets are being replaced with state‐of‐the‐art new types and equipment to make long-range travel more convenient and time‐efficient. We also see a recent increase in very light jets to accommodate regional business travel.
Unless companies can produce a regulation miracle and pull-off per-seat charter, which would be far less expensive than chartering an entire aircraft, I don’t think business aviation will become less expensive over the next decade; rather it will be more cost‐effective and efficient in comparison with the rising prices and increasingly unpredictable nature of scheduled flights. As business travelers catch on to its real value —time saving—they will see charter not as a luxury but as a necessity.
—Bettina Gentile, product director, Air Charter Guide
Safety Will Be Enhanced
The air charter industry will remain dedicated to improving performance and to enhancing the experience for passengers and crewmembers. Like the airlines, air charter operators will continue to develop and improve proactive safety cultures—to identify hazards and incidents early in the safety chain and focus on root causes, to reduce or eliminate risks.
—Thomas L. Hendricks, president and CEO, National Air Transportation Association
Customers Will Have More Choices
We’re entering the golden age of private jet travel. Demand is increasing and there are more choices than ever before about how to fly. As a result, business jet fliers are becoming savvier, treating their aviation relationships much like they treat their investments. They are being more circumspect in how they view guaranteed availability, having learned that other available products provide the majority of benefits of ownership with fewer trade-offs and far less financial risk.
We believe private jet ownership will continue to trend down and the resulting demand will be divided among a smaller number of branded charter solutions from operators that put customers’ needs at the center of everything they do. For business jet fliers, this will mean more choices, stronger partners, better service and a more sophisticated, boutique experience.
—Bradley Stewart, president and CEO, Xojet
Air-Navigation Systems Will Improve
Ten years ago, the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) was launched to bring greater accuracy and reliability to a GPS system that was somewhat unpredictable. WAAS experienced growing pains and threats of cancellation, but through the foresight and hard work of many people, a remarkable system has emerged.
As we enter the next decade, let’s hope our leaders in Washington appreciate the benefits of WAAS and understand that it represents money well spent—now and in the future—because of its contributions to safety, reducing congestion, lowering costs and emissions, saving time and enhancing reliability.
—Ernest Edwards, president, Embraer Executive Jets
Fractional Ownership Will Remain Popular
I foresee steady but measured growth, combined with continued retrenchment and consolidation, for the business jet industry. Airlines are cutting service and destinations, making private travel more appealing. Meanwhile, the weaker players in private aviation are struggling, and we will see a continued shakeout of companies without the resources to invest in new airplanes and technology. We’ll have fewer, but bigger, firms providing even better service.
We’ll also see new trends in how people access private air travel. Since the financial crisis, clients have been reluctant to make a commitment and are searching for flexibility, good deals and access to the latest airplanes. Whole-aircraft ownership is less attractive to them. Fractional ownership will remain popular. However, we also will see growth through jet cards, hybrid membership programs and newer, more flexible plans that will meet the needs of a broader, more diverse, risk-averse clientele.
Finally, I expect we’ll see improvements in aircraft performance, comfort, environmental friendliness and cost-effectiveness.
—Mike Silvestro, CEO, Flight Options
Economic Realignment Will Impact the Industry
Several factors are causing economic realignment that is already affecting all stakeholders in our industry. Among these factors: a modest economic recovery in Europe; older jets being replaced by new ones with greater range and operational efficiency; commercial carriers reducing services to secondary cities; and the growth of Western businesses in emerging markets.
Already, light-jet users are migrating to very light or super light, and communities once reliant on commercial transport are focusing on the value and economic contribution of business aviation. We’re also witnessing the advent of business models that bridge the operational and economic commitments between fractional and charter and a blurring of business propositions between FBOs, handling agents, international trip planners and fuel resellers.
The business aviation customer is seeking increased value, transparency in relationships and flexibility. In the FBO segment of our industry, operating models will continue to evolve over the next decade to meet the value proposition required by customers (back and front of the plane), suppliers and the communities we serve. The relevance of business aviation is growing and each aspect of the industry is adapting for long-term, sustainable participation.
—S. Michael Scheeringa, president and CEO, BBA Aviation Flight Support (Signature Flight Support and Aircraft Service International Group)
A Pilot Shortage Will Present Challenges
I think signs are pointing to continued growth and prosperity for the aviation industry. We face challenges, however. The biggest is what I believe to be a mounting and misguided effort to commoditize the service side of our business. I also believe the looming pilot shortage will represent a hurdle that every segment of the industry will have to deal with.
The good news is that manufacturers are still designing and building these phenomenal flying machines, and our industry is a people business. That suggests to me that we’ll have what it takes to improve, grow and evolve.
—Dan Drohan, CEO, Solairus Aviation
Safety Measures Will Breed Success
I believe that a decade from now business aviation operators will be taking a much more proactive role in areas that were once considered the FAA’s responsibility. The successful flight departments and charter operators will be those that have embraced Safety Management Systems, ensured the availability of resources that help minimize operational risk and implemented a safety-oriented culture throughout the organization. The true beneficiaries of a safety-oriented business aviation marketplace will include the providers, the consumers and the ancillary businesses that depend on a market where confidence is high.
—Art Dawley, managing director, Wyvern
Companies Will Use Bizav More Efficiently
The need to see key clients face to face is critical for any company. Being in the same room with a customer can accelerate contract negotiations, often by months, as parties can spend quality time going over details rather than sending countless emails and contract revisions.
Personal jets make it possible for executives to visit these key customers in multiple cities in a single day. As companies seek to leverage time-saving efficiencies in order to accommodate hectic schedules and visit these key customers, they will continue to turn to business aviation for their travel needs.
While the absolute cost of flying privately will keep rising, companies are finding ways to utilize business jets more efficiently. Analysis of aviation needs, including average passenger loads and ranges for typical corporate missions, allows businesses to adjust the types of aircraft in their fleet to more closely align to these needs. This is probably the single most valuable opportunity to drive more cost efficiency into corporate flight departments.
—Mason Holland, CEO and chairman, Eclipse Aerospace
More Countries Will Discover Bizav
As jets with global reach allow travelers access to more destinations around the globe, I think the next 10 years will see the small to mid-size business jet market reborn. Travelers now can get to major destinations throughout the world, but traveling in-country still presents challenges in places where the infrastructure is inadequate or inefficient for the larger aircraft.
Because this next generation of small to mid-size jets will be operated in areas experiencing their aviation infancy, we have to think durable, not disposable. Sturdy, reliable transportation, outfitted with the best of today’s technology, will have to be accompanied by the growth of regionalized support, including MRO services and parts suppliers.
As aviation is introduced into new markets, we can expect that it will be received with the same excitement and enthusiasm that it has experienced everywhere else. Aviation is a passion with a purpose. It’s going to be fun helping the rest of the world take flight.
—Susan Aselage, president and vice chairman, Sabreliner
The Chinese Market Will Mature Rapidly
As demand for business jets grows in China, we see a rapid improvement in infrastructure and fierce competition in every segment of this industry, resulting in better client services, higher safety standards and more cost-efficient options for everything from purchasing to financing to maintaining aircraft. We predict that in the coming 10 years, the general aviation industry in China will get closer to the maturity level of the European and American markets, and that owning and maintaining a business jet here will become even more hassle-free and cost-efficient.
—Jenny Lau, president and CEO, SinoJet
The Customer Base Will Double
I think that the number of people flying privately will double worldwide in the next 10 to 15 years. There is an ever-growing base of customers who want the benefits of closed-fleet flying through an understandable and flexible product, with limited commitment and no asset exposure. Technology will play a big part in the way people interface with their jet provider. I predict that the average sophisticated private aviation consumer will want a total solution, so the average 20- to 30-hour-a-year flyer will need to be able to buy time on four or five aircraft types in a typical year. —Kenny Dichter, founder and CEO, Wheels Up, and founder, Marquis Jet
We’ll Keep Pushing the Boundaries
To look 10 years into the future, we must look at our past. The fifth anniversary of the financial crisis is upon us. In my 40 years of industry experience, I had never experienced anything that is comparable. The value of business aviation has been established over a history of more than 50 years. These are tools for business and that will not change. In fact, as economies expand and companies innovate, there will be a greater need for business jets. I expect to see manufacturers continue to offer new clean-sheet models to meet future demands, and boundaries of performance and value will continue to be pushed. It is an exciting time to be in our great industry. Our industry advocates like to say “No Plane No Gain.” I like to say, “The best is yet to come.”
—Jean Rosanvallon, president and CEO, Dassault Falcon Jet
Emerging Markets Will Embrace Bizav
I envision the widespread acceptance of business aviation as a powerful and impactful economic engine that not only provides countless benefits to its users but to people around the world who work in the industry.
Emerging markets that previously seemed hesitant about business aviation have begun to accept, even embrace, it. China, especially, has made tremendous strides in terms of streamlining flight planning and establishing the infrastructure necessary to make the country a business aviation hub. We’ll continue to see the growth of this region and others, as well, including Brazil, Russia and India.
There’s plenty of room for these regions to grow: the U.S still has the lion’s share of business aircraft, with more than 11,000, compared with the 8,000 business aircraft in the rest of the world. Those figures alone demonstrate the tremendous potential of this industry.
—Larry Flynn, president, Gulfstream Aerospace
Expect a Great Future
In the airline world, the number of people flying doubles every 15 years, driven mainly by economic growth. Similar expansion can be anticipated in business aviation. We also live in an increasingly global world, with half of us now in cities and a million more joining us every week. And, whatever our lifestyle, our aspirations are always growing, so we want to eat, dress, live and travel better than our parents. In millions of ways, technology is helping us to do that—at least in the developed world. So there is a great future for business aviation, and we can expect future bizjets to have even better cabins and range than today’s. Science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke said we tend to overestimate what we will achieve short-term, and underestimate what we will accomplish long-term. So, depending on your timescale, things may have evolved even more than expected.
—David Velupillai, marketing director, Airbus Corporate Jets
What our readers had to say
Thanks for an excellent piece, with varied perspectives from many brilliant minds [“Bizav: The Next 10 Years,” October/November 2013]. I believe we can expect the largest and most mature bizav markets (particularly the U.S. and Western Europe) to behave much differently from emerging markets. I foresee considerable consolidation, with fewer, larger, stronger bizav products and service providers. The most capable, innovative and client-focused firms will thrive.
Director, Corporate Aircraft Finance
BMO Harris Equipment Finance
If business aviation is to prosper, there needs to be a much stronger worldwide representation of organizations such as EBAA, NBAA and MEBA, all working together to remove the outdated and restrictive bureaucracy that acts like a debilitating disease in our industry. Wouldn’t it be great if we had one aircraft registry, one worldwide aircraft certification procedure and one set of operating rules? As an example, I fail to understand why safety requirements should differ for private and commercial operations and for different countries when all aircraft fly in the same airspace and rely on safe operation by everyone.