January 2011 - Page 2 Aviation Articles

2011 Business Aviation Outlook

2011 Outlook

New Year’s Eve was an early night for me. I was fighting off a nasty cold and despite the intake of grape-related products, ran out of energy before 2011 said hello.  But as I didn’t sleep much either, I guess I was awake for the New Year. With some drugs in my blood, the cold’s effects are waning as I write this. If my outlook for 2011 is a bust, I will claim it is the after-effects of decongestants!

2010 was a year of what I’ll call a stagnant recovery. Economic signs were generally positive. The US stock markets finished 2010 with double digit gains versus 2009. NASADQ was the biggest gain up almost 17% over the year. However, rising corporate profits and stock indices have not resulted in job gains here in the US.

Business aviation is tied in with corporate profits, so that much bodes well for our industry in 2011. Aircraft sales are expected to be (relatively) strong for the last quarter of 2010 if the December activity of aviation tax and legal folks are any sign. Flight hours flown seems to be on the rise as well as charter activity. But again, new jobs and rehires are not showing strength just yet.

So here go my picks for 2011:

Business aviation activity will continue to show steady, but slow, growth. I think aircraft sales will slowly increase here in the US, be flat in most of Europe, and show some strong growth in the Middle East and Asia. As with the past several years, I think more than half of the new aircraft sales will be outside the US.  So for US-based aircraft brokers with International experience, this should be a better year for you.

Used aircraft values will stabilize. Popular, newer models will likely show some appreciation as the correct for being under-valued. Older business aircraft values will be stable. I don’t look for any appreciation in first generation business jets as these low prices are the new normal.

As one banker said to me about aircraft age, 15 is the new 20. In other words, financial institutions will continue to be wary of lending substantial amounts on older aircraft. Full disclosure and down payments will continue to be required as credit is available to the well qualified.

Fuel prices will rise considerably in 2011. Crude is inching to $100 per barrel. While some have forecasted up to $150 per barrel for this year, others think the increases will be much lower. So $6 to $7 per gallon may be on the near horizon. This will have negative effects on business aviation as I doubt budgets are increased for many operators. So if you don’t have a wallet full of fuel discount cards, better sign up now! And don’t forget to
use Max-Trax to map out your fuel stops en route.

Jobs. I don’t see a lot of hiring in new manufacturing within aviation. The OEM’s are still hurting and will be very cautious in re-hiring employees until they start getting a solid order book. Even with Bonus Depreciation here in the US that is still a ways off. MRO’s should see a good year as operators that have put off maintenance and refurbishments need to have the work done. That should bode well for jobs in that sector.  As flight hours pick up, that should mean more jobs in the cockpit. Again, I suspect companies will be cautious and slow to re-hire. Do more with less is the mantra for aviation managers (again) this year.

So what does this mean for the typical operator? I hate to repeat myself, but managing and controlling your costs will be job #1. Which means that you will need to understand your costs, track your costs, and budget wisely. I hope we can be a help.

2011 should be a year of celebration for the ladies among us


August 2011 will be the 100th Anniversary of the first U.S. woman to qualify as an aviator. Ms. Harriet Quimby was her name, and she was a photojournalist from San Francisco, California. After being assigned by a weekly journal to cover the Belmont Park (New York) International Aviation Tournament for a feature story, like many of us today, Harriet immediately became smitten by aviation, and soon started taking flying lessons.

Ms. Quimby is not credited with being the first women in the world to receive her pilot’s licence - this place in history went to the French aviatrix Baroness de la Roche, a little over a year before Harriet made the history books in this country. Ms. Quimby is still a strong beacon to women who decide to follow a path into aviation either as a sport, or as a career.

On August 1st, 1911, pilot certificate number 37 was awarded by the Aero Club of America to Ms. Quimby. She was the second female pilot in the world, and the first in the United States.

After demonstrating her skills as an aviator across the U.S. to inspire other women to learn to fly, she attempted to make history again by becoming the first women to fly across the English Channel borrowing an aircraft from the famed Louis Bleriot, who had first claimed the title of World’s First ‘Cross Channel Pilot’ earlier in 1909. She is also credited with being the first women to have ever flown at night.

Unfortunately Ms. Quimby’s career was short lived. This inspirational lady pilot had a fatal mishap during a demonstration flight over Boston Harbour in July of 1912, when she and her passenger fell from their aircraft (they probably were not strapped-in) while circling the Boston Lighthouse. Her momentous career as one of the most famous lady pilots came to an end after only eleven months of flying as a pilot in-command.

Since Ms. Quimby was the first women to set foot on the new aviation pathway, thousands of women have followed her footsteps and made their own way in history. Some of the most notable ladies include: Ruth Law, Marjorie Stinson, Mary Riddle, Florence Lowe ‘Pancho’ Barnes, Amelia Earhart, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Ruth Nichols, Helen Richey, Willa Brown, Bessie Coleman, Beryl Markham, Elinor Smith, Jacqueline Cochran, Nancy Harkness Love, Emily Howell Warner, Mary Barr, Sally Murphy, Lynn Rippelmeyer, Beverly Burns, Jeana Yeager, Jackie Parker, and Patty Wagstaff to name a few.100th Anniversary of the first U.S. woman to qualify as an aviator.

Since women started flying 100 years ago, they have always had to jump more hurdles than men, in their quest to become career aviators. Much of this is due to sexism. Obviously like any other minority in an industry, women in aviation have often associated with other women of their like-mind, and therefore several organizations have been formed to help connect the dots between all aviatrixes. The most famous female aviation organization remains the ‘Ninety-Nines’, so named  because at the very first meeting of this long-standing and successful organization in 1929, 99 licensed lady pilots were in attendance.


Other organizations, groups, associations and historical societies specific to the role of women in aviation that have also been formed over the past 100 years include: Women in Corporate Aviation, Women in Aviation International, Women in Aviation Maintenance, Girls With Wings, International Aviation Women’s Association, International Women’s Air and Space Museum, Women Airforce Service Pilots Collection, The Arizona Ruth Reinhold Collection, The George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers, The Dwight D. Eisenhower Library – Jacqueline Cochran Collection, NASA Oral History Project: Aviatrix Pioneers, Women in Aviation Club, Memphis Belles Organization, The Women Fly Project, ALPA: Cleared to Dream-Women in Aviation, Aviation and Women in Europe, The Leadership Development For Women In Aviation In Africa, WomenVenture, The Harriet Quimby Research Centre, Professional Women Controllers, Women Soaring Pilots Association, Association of Flight Attendants, Australian Women Pilots Association, British Women Pilots Association, Clipped Wings, International Society of Women Airline Pilots, Japan Women’s Association of Aeronautics, National Sundowners, New Zealand Association of Women in Aviation, Technical Women’s Organization, The International Forest of Friendship, The Jerrie Cobb Foundation, The Mercury 13, TWA Clipped Wings, Whirly Girls, Women in the Military, and Women Military Aviators.

I can honestly say that from my personal experience, lady pilots are the best pilots that I have ever flown with, or have been flown by. The usual pushback that most women experience when pursuing a professional career in aviation, is in my mind both archaic, and embarrassing. So much so, that I joined and am a member of Women In Corporate Aviation, so I can try and be part of the solution, instead of part of the problem, that most lady aviators face. This new year of 2011 is an ideal opportunity for all us to be mindful of female aviators, and to salute all Aviatrix-minded women, and if we can, to also give them a helpful push in the right direction. I raise my glass and toast you all, especially Ms. Quimby who started it all in this great country, the U.S.A.

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