The light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel seems to be growing brighter. Louisville, Kentucky-based pre-owned aircraft sales platform GlobalAir.com’s latest market trend report notes large increases in inquiries across the board in general aviation of more than 73% from 2019 to 2020.
Inventory (number of aircraft listed) on the company’s website hit a record all-time low, indicating a seller’s market overall. According to Globalair.com statistics, Q4 2020 alone showed that more than 510 aircraft were marked as sold or under contract, indicating an increased need.
“I have spoken with several major aircraft sales brokerage firms from around the world, each citing an influx of new first-time aircraft buyers,” said GlobalAir.com President Jeffrey Carrithers. “With the combination of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (increasing a bonus depreciation to 100% for both new and pre-owned business aircraft), and the influx of new first-time buyers, a wave of buying was spurred for both large and small aircraft. I have not seen a market turn so quickly in my 30 years in the aviation business.”
According to Google Analytics, GlobalAir.com’s website visitors have continued climbing year over year, as well. In the fourth quarter of 2020, page views increased by more than 28% compared to the same quarter in 2019.
Business aviation research firm JETNET LLC reports a 12% increase in sales and lease of business jets during the 4th quarter of 2020 as compared to the same quarter of 2019. Topping the list in units by volume was the Cessna Citation CJ3, followed closely by the Gulfstream G-IVSP and the Eclipse EA 500. These pre-owned jets complete the mission that operators are seeking, while simultaneously posing a lesser financial risk during this economic downturn.
“Private Jets” was the single most viewed aircraft class on GlobalAir.com during Q4, claiming 37% of aircraft for sale pageviews. Not far behind was “Helicopters” in second with 27% of pageviews. This contrasts with JETNET’s report of a 24.6% decrease in sales and leases of helicopters during Q4 of 2020 compared to 2019.
Another factor considered from an operational point of view is fuel cost, which brings a sliver of a silver lining. GlobalAir.com reports indicate that the average cost of JetA and 100LL fuel in the United States has declined since the first quarter of 2020. JetA is reported to have dropped by 10% and 100LL by 3.5%.
As the economy continues to adjust with the beginning of a new presidential term, prices for fuel, among other things, could fluctuate drastically. The aviation industry is continuing to persevere throughout COVID-19, with the light appearing brighter for 2021.