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2010 Outlook for Aviation

by David Wyndham 1. January 2010 00:00
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Cautious, Optimistic, Hopeful are my words for 2010.

2009 was a lousy year for the global economy. Aviation was hard hit. There are a large number of fine folks who are out of work as a result of the economic recession. However, there appear to be glimmers of hope. Some of the leading economic indicators are pointing to a technical end of the recession in the US.

A low US dollar makes US- produced goods more attractive, and this means aircraft and components will be selling well outside of the US. The price of oil was somewhat stable, inflation has yet to rear its head, and there is stability of sorts in the financial markets. US Federal spending has provided an economic boost. Most economists are looking at a slow start to a recovery in 2010. When the jobless rate improves, then I'll believe them! By the way, overtime has been increasing in the US, a precursor to hiring. There is a lot of uncertainty.

The financial industry is headed back to stability and interest rates remain low. So does the chance of getting capital as only those with the lowest risk are finding financial institutions willing or able to work with them. Expect a very slow improvement in credit markets 2010.

Flight hours are showing signs of increasing. Charter demand is the leading indicator here. Those who got rid of their aircraft will start back with charter. Those who stopped chartering will start at low levels. Companies with aircraft will start flying as their business picks up. Expect this slow growth in flight hours to continue.

Regarding business aircraft values, the used aircraft market is showing some signs of life, especially for newer models and those in excellent condition. Prices have fallen 25% to 50% off of their highs. Prices are stabilizing and we are probably at the bottom in terms of residual values.

Fuel prices: I expect a slight increase in 2010. This is tough to call, as there may be some minor volatility in crude prices. As demand for oil increases, prices may increase as well, but only after a lag of a few months or more.

Keep an eye on inflation. While it is predicted at 2% for the US in 2010, there are inflationary pressures. Of course, interest rates are low and the Fed has room to maneuver should inflation pick up. Look for this to be an issue after 2010.

What about your flying for 2010? Will you be flying more in 2010 than in 2009? Click reply and let us know.


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