Food For Thought About Private Aviation In Uncertain Times

Original post April 2020 Duncan Aircraft.

Even though we are living in uncertain times, it is because of this that certain aspects of business aircraft ownership may become more appealing. Let me explain.

First of all, private/business aviation is open for business and will likely continue to be. There has been no airway or operating restrictions placed on the use of business aircraft. This is especially true for FAR Part 91–Private flight operations. The only reason this would change is if the FAA determines that it can no longer provide adequate staffing.

Secondly, in the near term, localized and cross border restrictions, as well as corporate travel policies are the biggest obstacles for private Part 91 flight operations. However, these are NOT flight restrictions! Consideration of flight crew movement and logistics are a critical component of the flight planning process that we took for granted before. Entry requirements, hotel availability, and ground transportation is a bit more complicated. Again, these are constraints on the ground NOT in the sky.

If Planning On Upgrading Or Adding To Your Fleet

Once travel restrictions ease, we believe the demand for pre-owned aircraft will be high, and recommend the following:

  1. Take a closer look at the types of missions you expect to fly after this passes. Your existing aircraft may not have the appropriate range or runway performance to operate these new routes without technical stop(s).
  2. Charter and Fractional Clients may see that pre-owned light- and mid-sized jets are priced attractively, and full asset control is of greater importance.

 Impact Of Commercial Travel From COVID-19

We anticipate some effects of the virus on commercial travel will linger. That will cause the use of business aircraft to become even more essential.

  • Once commercial air travel resumes, it will take time for sufficient passenger counts to get to a level where flights are directed to hubs, meaning there will be only flights to major cities initially.
  • Intrusive health-related travel protocols may stay in effect even after commercial service resumes, likely requiring earlier check-in times and longer lines.
  • COVID-19 risks could remain even as restrictions are lifted. Flying via a business aircraft provides peace of mind.

Once our society settles into a new normal, let’s consider again the advantages of business aircraft ownership, sole or fractional.

  • The personal relationship that exists between flight crew and passengers
  • Operators can come and go as they please, flexibility
  • Knowing who you, your family, and friends/business associates are flying with
  • No crowded terminals
  • Close, personal attention

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