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Private Jet Charter Business Up, Says Air Partner
The past 18 months have dealt private aviation major fiscal blows and severe public scrutiny. But as the economy slowly begins to lick its wounds, the air charter industry is recovering faster than its counterparts, a result of the new surplus of jets in the market and the downsizing of ownership programs to more cost effective models.
GAMA (General Aviation Manufacturer’s Association) announced that business jet manufacturing was down 38% this year and Honeywell stated business jet sales across the industry fell 50% last year, with no signs of improvement. This coupled with the UBS Business Jet update reporting a 7% increase in business jet traffic in the fourth quarter and forecasting an 8-10 percent increase in business jet flight activity, points to a recovering private air charter industry. The credit crunch shed light on the irreparable flaws of the fractional business jet model, evidenced by Honeywell’s report of a 66% decrease in jet sales to fractional operators with demand unexpected to return until 2012. Consequently, the fierce erosion of the fractional model has carved out a larger market space for private air charter.
Forecasts anticipating positive growth in 2010 for Air Partner (AIP, the only publicly traded air charter brokerage), and other charter companies, reflect this emerging trend. Philip Mathews, President of Air Partner Inc. North America comments; “The reality is that as the economy begins to turn around, jet orders will remain down, but demand for private aviation is going up. The charter industry is in a prime position to take advantage of the surplus of jets in the market and meet customer demand.”
A logical consequence of the economic downturn has been the consolidation of the industry as fiscally undisciplined companies fold. This enables a select few to capitalize on green shoots in private charter. Air Partner is one of these companies, and is now seeing the benefit of limited competition and growing demand. Their strong balance sheet and robust credit rating (Air Partner performed better than 99% of other UK companies in their recent D&B risk profile) make them an industry leader capable of meeting the increasing demand for air charter.
The market saturation of jets has become an economic boon to the consumer who can now access any aircraft charter at highly competitive rates. While corporate budgets and reputations can no longer afford private ownership, air charter continues to be a financial option for those who see the value in the business efficiency of private jet travel.
About Air Partner
Air Partner is a world-class provider of aviation services to industry, commerce, governments and individuals worldwide. The company has earned global recognition as a leading aircraft charter broker and organises ad hoc charters of aircraft of every size for any reason. Its three main divisions, supported by a host of support teams, comprise Air Partner Commercial Jets, Air Partner Private Jets and Air Partner Freight. The Commercial Jets division charters large airliners with 20 to 500 seats for groups of every size. Private Jets offers the full range of private jet products and services including the company’s unique pre-paid JetCard scheme, on-demand charter and management of Europe’s largest fleet of modern Learjets. With its headquarters in the UK, Air Partner operates 24/7 year-round with over 20 offices spanning Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North America. The Group was formed nearly 50 years ago, is fully listed on the London Stock Exchange, is debt free and had £16.1m net cash at the end of the financial year to 31 July, 2009. Air Partner’s expertise at providing unsurpassed private flying experiences at the best price is summed up by one fact: it is the only company in the aviation industry to hold a Royal Warrant, a globally recognised mark of excellence. The honour, as Supplier of Aircraft Charter to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, was granted in 2004.