Jan. 7, 2021

While there’s definite cause for optimism throughout the business aviation community in 2021, JetNet iQ Director Rollie Vincent cautioned the industry must first overcome the lingering effects from 2020, including a stubborn resurgence of COVID-19 cases, before it truly rebounds.

Despite ongoing impacts worldwide from the pandemic, Vincent noted overall business aircraft sales figures largely stabilized at the close of 2020, with one segment demonstrating remarkable resilience. Pre-owned business aircraft sales through the first 11 months of 2020 were down just 4% over the previous year, according to JetNet’s data, compared to a 25% decrease in new business aircraft deliveries.

Vincent expects those trends to continue as December’s totals are finalized, and he attributed this disparity to new customers utilizing business aviation out of personal health and safety concerns and the lack of travel alternatives.

“Generally speaking, a 10-year-old airplane is a great way to come into this marketplace,” he said. “The key going forward will be to keep these customers in business aircraft once other travel options are back on the table.”

Optimism over available vaccines has been tempered by significant increases in new COVID-19 cases worldwide, Vincent added, so he expects the first half of 2021 “will look a lot like the last half of last year.” However, business aircraft sales and operations should increase as more people receive the vaccines and travel restrictions finally ease worldwide.

“The pandemic is still very much a concern, perhaps the highest concern we’ve seen yet around the world,” he said. “We need to see a buildup of confidence to get through the gate to that second half of the year, in which I think we’ll see a very good performance for business aviation – certainly much better than the first half.”

And while more business than ever before has been conducted in the virtual space over the past 10 months, Vincent emphasized people and companies continue to overwhelmingly prefer the face-to-face contact enabled through business aviation.

“I’m very optimistic for our industry,” he said. “We offer a great, resilient and innovative service that more people are now utilizing. Let’s build from there.”