Gulfstream G700 cabin aft view

Fair Skies Forecast for Market Through Mid-2020s

Two reports point to continued growth for preowned aircraft sales and “rational” values.

Given the unprecedented market changes wrought by COVID, the war in Ukraine, rising interest rates, and sinking financial sectors, you may well wonder where the preowned market goes from here. The answer, according to a pair of recent five-year forecasts, is along a route to steady, sustainable growth through the middle of the decade. 

The preowned business jet market “will continue to grow over the next five years as the global economy continues to expand,” says Global Jet Capital (GJC) in its Business Jet Market Outlook, 2022–2026. Jetcraft, meanwhile, predicts that preowned values will “remain rational” in the face of high demand in Looking Ahead: 5-year Pre-Owned Business Aviation Market Forecast, 2021–2025.

Though the two firms track and base their forecasts on different mixes of business jets and use different sources for their transaction reports, their outlooks are largely in sync. 

For its 2021–2025 outlook, business jet brokerage Jetcraft forecasts 12,261 preowned transactions valued at $57.2 billion. The company expects sales volume to grow steadily through 2025, from 2,267 last year to 2,647 in 2025, a 16.8 percent increase. Annual transaction value is expected to increase 21.6 percent during the period, from $10.2 billion to $12.4 billion. (Jetcraft released its outlook in December of 2021 when results for most of the first year of the forecast were in hand.) 

Corporate aircraft financier GJC, which tracks a larger number of business jet models, predicts 15,419 preowned transactions, valued at $83.6 billion, occurring through 2026. It expects annual volume to climb from this year’s forecast 2,829 preowned jets to 3,311 in 2026, a 17 percent increase, with dollar value growing 27 percent over the five years, from $14.8 billion to $18.8 billion.

Addressing the war in Ukraine, GJC foresees “minimal impact on the business aviation market,” as no major economic fallout is currently expected, adding, “We believe the relevance of business aviation is heightened at a time like this.” 

The Boca Raton, Florida firm cites the 3.5 percent year-over-year GDP growth that Oxford Economics anticipates in 2022, and projection of continued steady growth through the forecast period, as validation for its prognostication. 

The Role of Large-cabin Jets 

Jetcraft, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, expects overall market values to rise marginally until 2024, due to supply and demand pricing pressure, and an expected increase in large-cabin jet transactions that will “elevate the value average.” 

Indeed, both forecasts say large-cabin jets will take a bigger share of the market in coming years. Jetcraft sees annual preowned large-cabin jet sales in the fleet it tracks growing from 310 in 2021 to 457 in 2025—a hefty 47.4 percent increase. GJC calls for yearly heavy-jet sales to climb from 714 this year to 937 in 2026, a 31 percent increase.

Underscoring the strength of the large-jet sector, executive airliners will also see strong transaction activity, Jetcraft says, increasing from 18 preowned sales last year to 26 expected in 2025, a 44.4 percent boost. (GJC doesn’t track this category.)

Jetcraft also predicts robust growth in the midsize-cabin market, with preowned sales volume growing 29.4 percent over the five years, from 524 transactions to 678, while GJC predicts only 10.5 percent sales growth for the segment. Both see limited expansion in light-jet transactions (4.9 and 7.3 percent at Jetcraft and GJC, respectively), though GJC expects robust VLJ activity, with annual preowned sales forecast to rise from 581 to 710 aircraft during the forecast period, a 22.2 percent increase. (Jetcraft doesn’t track VLJs.)

The pandemic-induced influx of customers new to business aviation will also factor into continued preowned transaction growth, Jetcraft notes, as will an expected increase in ownership among ultra-high-net-worth individuals; only 4 percent of this cohort in the U.S. now own business aircraft, and in Europe and Asia, the corresponding figures are just 2 and 1 percent, respectively. 

Also boding well for sustained transaction growth: as a result of the pandemic, GJC sees a “more broadly socialized value proposition” for business aviation, “fitting into a broader narrative around flexibility—in how people utilize their time and how they choose to travel to build and reinforce relationships.”

“Put simply,” GJC says, “our entire industry delivers a most precious commodity—time.”

That includes the hours these two forecasts may save aircraft buyers and sellers trying to divine the market’s direction via daily headlines.