Three European Business Aviation Trends in View at EBACE2017
March 27, 2017
While the U.S. is seeing a resurgence in business aircraft ownership, Europe has seen more narrow growth, in specific categories and markets. Demand for ultra-long-range aircraft has remained strong, and light jet activity was up 10 percent in 2016 over 2015.
Operations by turboprop and piston aircraft remained sluggish, but demand for light jets in Europe is being driven by new usage models in charter and shuttle services.
“It’s a very different charter market from North America,” said Richard Koe, managing director of WINGX Advance. “What we’re seeing in Europe in terms of online brokerage is actually somewhat ahead of North America, and appears to be succeeding in creating a genuine spot market.”
While traditional aircraft brokers are well established in the United States, and many American flight departments choose to put their aircraft on a Part 135 certificate for supplemental revenue, the charter market in Europe is not as consolidated. This has left an opening for new entrants, particularly brokers leveraging online sales platforms.
On the online marketplaces, light jet charters have flourished, especially with infrequent users of business aviation, who are on the fence about stepping up to fractional or private ownership.
Historically, it’s also been harder for charter operators in Europe to become true regional players, because of cultural and market differences across the continent. In 2016 for example, business aircraft charters in Germany were down 4.2 percent over 2015, while France was the continent’s top charter market, with activity up 7.2 percent.
Brokers on the online marketplace are finding a way to bridge these differences in Europe, by consolidating real-time supply and matching it to requests submitted through apps and web portals.
“Companies such as JetSmarter, for example, are building transcontinental membership bases and leveraging pre-purchased inventory to provide guaranteed charter availability,” said Koe. “They’re also introducing city-to-city business aircraft shuttles, similar to those that have been successful in the U.S.”
Koe is presenting a session on business aviation trends in Europe at the 2017 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE2017), during the International Aircraft Transactions Seminar on 21 May. The seminar leading into EBACE also will feature sessions on how the U.S. market affects the European market, and vice versa; details on the emerging business models driving aircraft utilization; and a panel of leading aircraft financiers.