Few industries suffered during the pandemic like aviation. Strangely enough, private aviation actually found ways to soar higher while the whole of commercial fleets sat grounded on the tarmac. Now, with the end of the pandemic on the horizon, private aviation is ramping up even beyond pre-pandemic heights. Q1 figures show a surge in jet deliveries, with even more orders rolling in. If the trend continues, we could find ourselves in a true golden age of private aviation.
Strong figures mark sustained growth
According to Q1 figures, interest in private aviation has remained strong throughout the pandemic and has even exceeded the expectations of many in the private jet manufacturing and aviation sales industry.
Aerospace Group — which includes much-loved brands Gulfstream and Jet Aviation — experienced one of its strongest sales quarters in the past two years, with sales increasing 11.6% from the first quarter of 2020. Textron Aviation also saw a jump in sales, with more business jet deliveries, more orders, and a backlog at the end of the quarter totaling $2.1 billion.
While Aerospace Group and Textron Aviation experience increasing demand, other major players hit during the pandemic are beginning to see sales figures trending closer to normal. Embraer is just one legacy brand that’s noticing a stabilization in sales and a swift return to pre-pandemic operations. Sales for the brand jumped while losses narrowed during Q1. Embraer delivered 22 jets during the period, a 50% increase from the same period last year.
Some brands still struggle to achieve liftoff
Other brands are trending in a positive direction, but recovery depends on losses suffered during the pandemic.
Heritage brand Bombardier is facing an uphill battle as they enter post-pandemic operations — and much of the company’s struggles stem from pre-pandemic woes. The company has taken steps to restructure its holdings, transitioning to an aviation-only business and selling off other holdings to cover debts and losses. As they look toward the future, they plan to produce 100-120 business jets annually, focusing on cost reduction to ensure greater revenue.
A return to the skies is fueling private aviation
As the world begins to open up in 2021 and travel rebounds concurrently, private aviation brands expect increased interest from businesses and individuals looking to enter the private business jet market or update their current fleet. Fractional jet companies in particular are eager to expand their fleets to accommodate increasing demand for private jet travel.
With new passenger consumption patterns, industry practices, and innovations, private aviation is expected to enter a new, more efficient era. Demand for private jet travel shows no sign of slowing down. More people will fly private in the post-pandemic world, which means more jets to keep up with demand. Legacy brands, as well as smaller operators, can expect sales to remain strong through all of 2021 and beyond — and analysts eagerly await sales and delivery reports to prove it.