June 7, 2011 By: Russ Niles
Business aircraft traffic is now within 10 percent of the April 2008 peak and while that’s good news for some parts of the industry, the manufacturing side is still in the doldrums in many sectors. USA Today quoted JSSI CEO Lou Seno as saying flight hours took a big jump in the first quarter of the year. He said the 1,300 customers for whom JSSI manages aircraft, on average, flew 11.4 percent more hours and the trend continued into April, which saw a 7-percent increase over March. “We are not back to late ’07, early ’08 levels, but we’re really off the bottom of where we were,” says Lou Seno, president and CEO of JSSI. “In the fall of 2008, following the decline of the financial markets É flying literally fell off the charts, and because of the economy and everything else, it has been slow to recover. But the recovery we’re seeing has been encouraging.” While bizjet owners are using their aircraft more, most are still not in a buying mood.
The latest report from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association showed business jets were among the weakest categories for deliveries in the first quarter compared to 2010, which was hardly a banner year. Most analysts believe the manufacturers have another tough year ahead of them before there’s enough confidence among business leaders to start updating their equipment and the glut of used aircraft currently on the market gets back to normal. “It appears that people are getting back to doing business and out using their airplanes for the purpose which (they’re) É meant to be used,” Seno said. “For guys who have to go out and make it happen, the only way to do it is in a corporate airplane, where you can get in and make five stops in one day.”