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Trump & Brexit: What's Ahead for the BizAv Industry?

The industry professionals offer their perspectives on Business Aviation in today's political landscape

Terry Spruce   |   7th February 2017
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Terry Spruce Terry Spruce

Terry Spruce began as a freelance aviation journalist in 2005, after working for a well known...
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With the swearing in of a new US President, the prospect of changes of Heads of State in some European countries and the UK voting to leave the EU, Terry Spruce asks Business Aviation professionals ‘What lies ahead for the industry?’

Among a number of senior executives asked their thoughts on these key topics in the Business Aviation community, Duncan Daines, CMO at Gama Aviation and Oliver Stone, MD of Colibri Aircraft offered their thoughts.

Duncan Daines says…

The underlying zeitgeist connecting the US election and Brexit, is in my personal view, an increase in nationalism; the movement away from the idea of common markets and certain freedoms of movement.

At its logical conclusion, this will have an effect on border controls, which will in turn have an effect on entry and exit times as airport infrastructure has been designed using flow models that won’t take into account large scale changes in such controls and the additional dwell/processing times.

Irrespective of the reality, perceptions will change playing into the core proposition of Business Aviation - namely speed.

But there are further changes that will create opportunities in our new reality.

The new US President is clearly pro-business, pro-aviation and pro-communication. How could this not be a good thing for GAMA’s and NBAA’s excellent ‘No Plane, No Gain’ campaign? The world’s largest Business Aviation market has its greatest advocate; a man who built an empire on his ability to travel far and wide - a cheerleader for the sector who displays all the benefits of ownership.

Meanwhile, as the UK splits from Europe new operating regulations may appear, new tax and VAT structures may be used to further power an economy freed from the perceived shackles of Europe. Regardless, change brings opportunity and as our own business has seen over the last 34 years, change is the only constant, you just need to adapt to it.

[Duncan specifies that his views are his own, and not related to Gama Aviation]

Oliver Stone says…

I have never had a client make a purchase decision based solely on who is in office. All of our clients have made purchase decisions driven by their own business/personal circumstances (i.e. a company sale, new travel requirement due to new business opportunity, change in personal life).

So directly, we have not seen clients getting into the business due to President Trump's election that were previously on the sidelines - though many other firms have.

What could hopefully make a positive difference is perspective. Our industry has done a terrible job of reminding the world that Business Aviation supports many, many well-paying jobs.

For each private airplane out there, somewhere along the line of 20+ people are employed, directly and indirectly, in servicing that airplane and its operations. These are typically much better paying jobs than are found in other industries, and they span all across the jobs spectrum from the factory floor to the executive office.

In an effort to protect American jobs, hopefully Trump will support a variety of pro-Business Aviation legislation.

There are many ‘ifs’ in this statement that revolve around political realities that few can influence. However, this, to me is the greatest aviation hope of a Trump presidency.

As regards Brexit, this is uncertain, in my view. I don’t see a set of circumstances where it will improve the prospects for private aviation in the UK. I think in the best case scenario we remain as we currently are. In the worst case, Europe tries to prove their toughness throughout the separation process and uses the blocking of open skies agreements as a bargaining tool.

The UK is geographically too small to really need a huge private aviation segment for itself, and so more of the benefit of private aviation is in getting to Europe and beyond. Consequently, the health of the UK market is dependent upon the health of the European market and the UK’s access to its skies.

This now depends upon the wisdom and practicality of government negotiators. Whether that turns out good or bad will depend upon the people appointed to handle that task. I hope for the best, but fear we must also prepare for the worst.

In Conclusion

With the start of a new US Presidency, the incumbent being an avid operator and pro-Business Aviation supporter, many believe that his Presidency could be of benefit to the industry.

On the other hand, with Brexit it seems to be a bit too early to judge what effect, if any, the UK leaving the EU will have on the Business Aviation industry…

Read more about: Brexit | Donald Trump | Business Aviation Market Forecasts

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