Demand for Business Jets is Back with a Roar

The AERO, the global show for general aviation, puts the broad spectrum of general aviation on display from April 18 to 21 – Industry meeting kicks off the AERO – Industry experts expect annual growth of up to seven percent in the business aircraft segment – Strong demand for ultralight aircraft

 The market for business jets is bouncing back from difficult times: experts are optimistic. Aircraft in the “upper middle class” are expected to see the strongest growth rates. North America and Europe continue to be the largest markets despite anticipated annual growth rates of more than 20 percent in China. This positive announcement was made by Peter Pletschacher, aviation journalist and president of the aviation press club, during the industry meeting to kick off the AERO, the global show for general aviation, which is taking place in Friedrichshafen through Saturday, April 21st 2012.

The global economy is continuing to grow, and general aviation, especially the business aircraft sector, will benefit from this growth according to Peter Pletschacher. Accordingly, the business jet industry is anticipating annual increases of approximately seven percent. Currently, there are over 320 000 aircraft in use in general aviation worldwide, flown by 617 000 pilots. “These figures are the like the equivalent of a city of a million people, but nevertheless there’s a lot of room in the sky” said Pletschacher. Last year, the number of aircraft in Germany numbered 23 000.

 The industry as a whole suffered during the economic crisias “comparable to the automobile industry,” explained the president of the aviation press club. While 17 000 aircraft were built in the world in 1982, only 1 865 machines were built in the past year. However, the exception was Germany, whose economy flouted the trend in the rest of the world and where this drop was less severe than elsewhere. Demand is expected to increase in the future. The reason for this, according to Dr. Nicolas von Mende, Chairman of Atlas Air Service AG, is the increase in economic mobility, which above all has implications for business aircraft. “Economically, Europe is growing together.“ In particular, large shipping companies and the boards of large corporations have discovered the time savings and additional comfort offered by private business aircraft, invigorating the market.

Ultralight aviation has been in a steadly climb for years because the licenses needed to operate such aircraft are simple to acquire and the equipment itself is quiet and inexpensive to maintain. This is also apparent to Horst Lieb, Director of the company Comco Ikarus in Hohentengen, Germany. Lieb has increased his staff to 18 people and has sold thirty aircraft in Germany in the past year. Business is good, but the competition is also growing. “There are a lot of companies offering ultralights and every year a few more join their ranks” said Lieb at the industry meeting.

Gyrocopters are also in. The company AutoGyro from Hildesheim is the market leader in this unusual type of aircraft. “It’s something that you just have to try out“, is how Guido Platzer, Authorized Officer of AutoGyro, describes the vehicle. AutoGyro, a medium-size company, first applied for regulatory approval for gyrocopters in Germany in 2003. Now, over 1400 of its aircraft are operation around the world. In 2011, the 100-employee company had revenues of over eleven million Euros and it currently produces 300 gyrocopters per year. Potential applications for gyrocopters are diverse, but they are especially well-suited to reconnaissance and observation, and are also used for crop dusting and surveying purposes.

This year, the AERO, the global show for general aviation, is taking off on its 20th anniversary flight. The show is the annual meeting place for general aviation. For 550 exhibitors and industry visitors from all over the world, including pilots, aviation experts and the media, the AERO, held on the shores of Lake Constance, is a must. The AERO lasts through Saturday April 21st 2012. Opening hours are Wednesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Everything that flies.“ General aviation includes all sectors of aviation that are not part of military or commercial airline operations, including among others helicopters, stunt planes, and single or multi-engine excursion aircraft. General aviation applications include private and business travel, training flights, crop dusting, taking aerial photographs, aerial cranes, use for law enforcement and border protection, aerial rescue operations, and many aviation sports ranging from gliding to stunt flying.

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