Since the disclosure in September of the financial crisis affecting the United States business aircraft manufacturers have changed their focus on sales efforts from U.S. based companies to companies overseas. However, the financial crisis seems to be like a tidal wave sweeping over first the U.S., then Europe and now on to Asia including China.
For the moment most bizjet manufacturers have a backlog of orders to keep them afloat, but in about 18 months that will run out. As a result the manufacturers are looking elsewhere for sales of their liveries. At the same time there is a resurgence in sales of turboporps because of escalating fuel costs and a switch to more economical business aircraft.
Among the manufacturers doing best is Embraer who has a backlog of some 750 orders for the Phenom 100 aircraft. Meanwhile, back in Kansas Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, Cirrus and Mooney are all laying off employees as sales of piston aircraft continue their decline.
Now that Ford and GM have led the way with disposing of flight departments which helped them grow we can expect to see more as political correctness sweeps across the US corporate boardrooms. As companies plan their approach to the largess being proposed by President-elect Obama moves to pacify those fearless leaders in Congress who know best how to run a business flight departments begin to disappear, along with the jobs they supported.
Where is Bill Lear when we need him? After all he convinced a generation of the value of the "time machine", the corporate jet. And if you crunch the numbers it is true that corporate aircraft can multiply key personnel time value, and with more and more companies relying on smaller and smaller workforces it seems to me that effective use of the personnel you already have is crucial. Combine that with the insane amount of time it takes to travel on the commercial airlines (a la TSA delays) and business aircraft make more sense than ever before.
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!
Every time I fly and am forced to remove my shoes, I'm grateful Richard Reid is not known as the Underwear Bomber.
— Douglas Manuel, aerospace executive regards airport security. Reported in USA Today, 13 March 2003.