The assumption that the market for private jets in the US was recession-proof because of the wealth of the customers is being reassessed after last week´s Farnborough International Air Show.
For planemakers, the bad news is that demand for private jets in the United States has measureably softened as the US Dollar´s value has fallen, and credit tightened. The good news is that other markets have grown at a rate that is lessening the impact of declining sales in the US.
The International Herald Tribune reports Honeywell data shows the US market for private jets has slipped below 50 per cent for the first time, and is now about 30 per cent of worldwide sales. Markets such as Russia, South Asia and the Middle East, where commercial air travel is booming as incomes rise, is seeing a parallel growth spurt in general aviation.
Each of the major jet manufacturers has its own spin on what´s happening to sales in the US.
Embraer CEO Federico Curado told reporters at the Farnborough, "Already we are seeing a slowdown in business jets in the United States." He added, "...credit today is much more selective than a year ago -- it´s not as easy as six months ago to finance new aircraft." Bombardier Chairman Pierre Beaudoin prefered to call it a "softening" of the US market in April.
David Dixon, Bombardier´s head of business aircraft for the Asia-Pacific region, says the current economy may prompt business jet customers to delay aircraft purchases and opt instead to charter a plane, or choose a fractional ownership plan.