It’s been very difficult to ‘read the room’ in terms of private aviation over the last few months, as lockdown measures across the globe have rendered the usual trend data all but powerless to help us assess the damage to the industry or to generate useful forecasts for recovery.
Private aircraft are used far less intensively than their commercial counterparts, allowing enough time between flights for the aircraft to be thoroughly cleaned. They also offer the obvious advantage of exposure to dramatically fewer people (both on the flight and in the terminal).
But despite these benefits, it is hard to anticipate what shape demand will take when it returns – for example, to what extent will business travel be required now that people have adapted to working from home? Will personal travel rebound when so many international destinations quarantine arrivals? Will commercial passengers make the switch to private and, if the demand is there, what will that do to prices?
It has been interesting this week to see that there are reports of the beginnings of a recovery – and will be fascinating to watch as this develops.
Business aviation is clearly coming back faster than scheduled aviation, with business jets now regaining some activity as well as turboprops. The US Is the key market with Florida, Texas, Arizona leading the recovery. We should see an acceleration in the recovery in the next couple of months as lockdown measures get released and forward bookings get flown. The industry will be hoping that pent-up demand gets released in time for at least some of the summer season.