JETNET Releases March 2013 and 1st Quarter 2013 Pre-Owned Business Jet, Business Turboprop, Helicopter and Commercial Airliner Market Information

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JETNET sees slow sales for business jets, surprising results in the helicopter markets, and for the first time, tracks worldwide trends in commercial airliners.

JETNET LLC, the leading provider of corporate aviation information, has released March 2013 and 1st Quarter 2013 results for the pre-owned business jet, business turboprop, helicopter and commercial airliner markets.

Market Summary

Comparing March 2013 to March 2012, Fleet For Sale percentages for business jet and business turboprop market sectors were down, but increased slightly in the helicopter markets.

Business jets are showing a slow start in the 1st quarter of 2013, with a 4.2% decrease in pre-owned sale transactions, and are taking more time to sell (71 days longer) than last year, with a 3.3% decrease in average asking price. Business turboprops decreased 8.8% in pre-owned sale transactions, with a double-digit increase in average asking price of 18.7%.

Both turbine and piston helicopters saw double-digit declines in sale transactions YTD, at 34.8% and 21.5% respectively. Turbine helicopters recorded a double-digit decrease in average asking price at 38.4% in the YTD comparisons through March 2013.

Commercial airliners are reported here for the first time by JETNET, and include For Sale numbers for both commercial jets (includes airliners converted to VIP) and commercial turboprop aircraft. The number of pre-owned commercial airliner sale transactions, 469 for the 1st quarter of 2013, showed a double-digit increase of 21.2% compared to the 1st quarter of 2012. However, commercial turboprop sale transactions declined by 25% in the same 1st quarter comparisons. Also, the average days on the market increased by more than 114 days for commercial airliners, and 7 days for commercial turboprop aircraft in the same quarterly comparisons. Both were on the market for more than a year before selling.

For Sale Inventory Levels by Weight Class

The light weight class dominates business jets for sale at 40%, or more than 1,000 out of the nearly 2,500. Comparing figures from 2007 to today, the light weight class has decreased in total percentage for sale, from 49% in 2007 to 40% today. The most significant change in the for-sale percentage is in the heavy weight class. In the 1st quarter of 2007 the heavy weight class represented 19% or 313 aircraft for sale and today accounts for 28% or 693 business jets for sale, more than doubled over this time period. Of most concern is that the total number of business jets for sale remains unchanged and very high today at almost 2,500 compared to 1,662 in the 1st quarter 2007, resulting in a buyer’s market.

Full Retail Sale Transactions and Average Asking Prices

March 2013 retail sale transactions have continued to increase. They have been above the 2,200-transactions mark since mid-year 2012, based on a 12-month moving average trend line, after showing a sharp rebound from the low point in mid-year 2009. In January 2011 the 12-month moving trend lines met for the first time since June 2008. Since a brief recovery in the 3rd quarter of 2011, the average asking price has continued to decline, a big concern to sellers, but has not dipped below the average of $4.50 million. In fact, the average asking price on a 12-month moving average over the past 18 months remains in the $4.50M to $4.75M price range. It’s still a buyer’s market, with ample inventory of most business jets at near low average asking prices.

Turbine Helicopter Full Retail Sale Transactions

In the 1st quarter 2013 comparison to 1st quarter 2012, turbine helicopter full retail sale transactions fell from 351 to 229, or 34.8%. This is the lowest number of quarterly transactions in this seven-year comparison.

Good News

Real gross domestic product (GDP)—the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States—increased at an annual rate of 2.5% in the 1st quarter of 2013 (that is, from the 4th quarter to the 1st quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

The BEA report is welcome news and shows that the U.S. GDP is heading toward the 3.0% growth mark (when business aviation does well). The advance estimate of the U.S. GDP release showed the economy grew for the 15th straight quarter. In the 4th quarter of 2012, real GDP increased 0.4%.

Financed vs. Cash

There can be no doubt that the reduction in available financing for used aircraft purchases has had an adverse impact on the business and helicopter aviation re-sale markets. As 2013 unfolds there remains a large inventory of business aircraft available at very affordable prices. The percentage of financed versus cash retail transactions for business jet aircraft was roughly split 50/50 from 2000 through September 2008. But then in late 2008 came the start of the economic meltdown, at which point securing debt financing for pre-owned business aircraft purchases became increasingly difficult. Thus the pendulum swung in favor of cash as the method of most pre-owned jet transactions. Today the ratio of financed versus cash transactions for used business jets stands at 23/77. This is based on a four-quarter total moving average trend, as reported by JETNET from U.S. FAA-filed financial documents. There has been little change in the percentage of financed business jets over the past four years.

Since 1988, JETNET has delivered the most comprehensive and reliable business aircraft research to its exclusive clientele of aviation professionals worldwide. JETNET is the ultimate source for information and intelligence on the worldwide business, commercial, and helicopter aircraft fleet and marketplace, comprised of some 100,000 airframes. Headquartered in its state-of-the-art facility in Utica, NY, JETNET offers comprehensive user-friendly aircraft data via real-time internet access or regular updates.

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