Business aviation professionals believe that business aviation is set for recovery this year, rather than the 2012 turnaround predicted by most forecasters late last year. According to business aviation consultant Rolland Vincent, “The darkest days of this current downturn appear to be in the past.”
Vincent points to rising corporate profits, increased business aircraft usage and the fact that corporate aviation aircraft deliveries in the first nine months of last year were the fourth highest on record as signs that things are rapidly improving. Meanwhile, corporate aviation consultant Brian Foley said recently, “Our perspective is that mid-2011 will be the first time since 2007 that all segments of the industry will be simultaneously improving.”
Corporate aviation is on the rise around the country, with the frequency of corporate flights up about 10 percent in 2010, following a dismal 2009 in which business fell by almost a third. Business people traveling on commercial airlines is also increasing, with business-class spending up 60 percent in the third quarter, according to American Express Business Insights, the analytics arm of the credit card company.
The revival of Corporate Aviation will translate into more Corporate Pilots being hired and trained to fly BizJets. These Corporate Flight Departments usually look for resumes that include a lot of Multi-engine flight experience and Regional Airline experience.
Business executives are finding that flying in their own Corporate Aircraft is the most convenient way to travel to meetings, he said, and are filling planes with more executives and salespeople since it doesn’t cost more to add passengers.
“They’re trying to accomplish a lot more on each trip,’’ Cawley said. “A lot of our customers, I would say they’re midsize businesses, so it’s very important for them to watch their dollars.’’
“Travel in Corporate Aircraft has become more crucial for companies in the past year because of all the airline cutbacks during the recession,” said Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association. “With limited or no commercial service in some communities, private jets are often the most convenient — and sometimes the only — way for companies to get to a location.”
“I think there’s a sense that it’s a luxury, that it’s not a necessity, that it’s rock stars and fat cats that are flying around on these private jets,’’ said Bowlen “Our clients are not fat cats and rock stars, they’re three business people flying to a meeting to close a deal.’’