UBS Upbeat on Business Jet Market Recovery

“We believe the recent improvement in our survey and many of the other key indicators that we monitor, including increased flight activity and lower used inventories, are reflective of an early-stage recovery,” UBS Investment Research U.S. aerospace and defense analyst David Strauss wrote in his firm’s latest monthly business jet market report. That survey showed a “slight drop” in the business jet market index to 49, down from 51 in UBS’s prior survey on relative large-cabin weakness. (An index of 50 or higher indicates growth.) However, Strauss said this is “not bad” given higher oil prices and Middle East unrest. According to UBS, pre-owned business jet inventories continued a gradual downward trend, declining by 1 percent last month and now 15 percent below the May 2009 peak. “We estimate available inventories represent 14 percent of the installed base of business jets,” UBS said, “lower from the 18 percent peak, but still above the historical average at 12 to 13 percent.” Inventories of young (less than 10 years old) jets declined by 2 percent and are now 24 percent below the 2009 peak. Average asking prices for the newer models UBS tracks declined for the fourth straight month, though. Meanwhile, business jet flight activity in March came in 4 percent higher from the prior year in March and is now 30 percent above the trough in early 2009, although still 16 percent below the peak in late 2007.

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