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In-depth interviews, profiles and insider opinion from key personnel within the business aviation industry. This includes the popular Ten Questions section, Susan Sheets & Jay Mesinger’s Leadership round table articles.
We all know how tough these days are for most business-turbine sales and light general aviation aircraft. Times are only slightly better for turboprops and large cabin jets. Tough times for sales tend to go hand-in-hand with tough times for aircraft financing.
Depending on the day, the issue and the venue, NBAA staff and their energetic president Ed Bolen have shown up in many of the usual places - but an unusually large number of times addressing a host of live-and-vexing issues. Sometimes, one of Congress’ panels served as the venue, at other times the FAA. At times, FAA funding dominated the topics, at other times the Block Aircraft Registration Request program, and at still others, national politics and tax policies.
All our prior conversations with NATA’s veteran president - Jim Coyne - have tended to address the association’s very full mission manifest, and the many elements of the association’s membership. Virtually every segment of members’ businesses experienced overlapping challenges after the 9/11 attacks of nearly a decade ago - and distance from that dark day has not insulated aviation practitioners from its continuing effects.
How time flies. A few weeks hence and Craig Fuller gets to celebrate his second Anniversary as head of the world’s largest pilot and aviation organization, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. As distance continues to grow between his tenure and that of his predecessor, the 19-year veteran Phil Boyer, it gets easier to see little ways in which the association has evolved with a new PIC – while, in contrast, little moved on some of the core issues the association addresses.
Business aviation, we hear, is up. Well, it’s up, some… except in some areas where it’s somewhat flat – or off a bit… until it’s showing signs of… of… what? Sometimes, trying to sieve the median curve from among a slew of unsynchronized curves can be a little like trying to untangle knotted spaghetti: it’s difficult to grasp, a bit slippery and it’s sliding around the plate.
Once-upon-a-time, financing an aircraft involved assuring proper paperwork, a clean title, qualifying the borrower and closing the deal. Loan capital was readily available. Into the present day and it’s a rather different world from just a couple of years ago. The new aircraft market pitched down like an airplane that lost its elevator, and order backlogs deflated like a balloon after the party.
Looking up from the bottom of a trough is seldom comfortable - sometimes it’s painful. Down at the bottom it’s difficult to glimpse the way ahead. In many ways, that trough is exactly where the general aviation community sits today. That seems like a good thing; it feels like aviation business is no longer on a downhill slope descending toward an unknown bottom. Now we essentially know the bottom – or the “lower plateau,” in the words of some, and we’re waiting to begin the climb back up.
- Author:Mike Vines
On the eve of the Tenth Annual European Business Aviation Association Convention (EBACE), Brian Humphries, President and CEO of EBAA took the time to speak with World Aircraft Sales Magazine and offer an exclusive insight into his organization and the outstanding issues facing the European business aviation community.