Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Private aviation recovery uneven

The number of flights into and out of Teterboro Airport, the region’s hub for private jets, was up 4.9 percent this year through April, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

But that doesn’t mean the private aviation business, which got hammered by the recession, has fully rebounded, the head of a business aviation trade group said.

“Mixed signals” make the prognosis for recovery uncertain, Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, said in an interview. Charter activity this year has been “up and down” with “months of pretty good demand followed by months of dropping off,” he said. And new private plane deliveries fell short of expectations in the first quarter amid cancellations and postponements. A pickup in deliveries forecast for 2011 may be delayed at least until next year.

“It’s a little hard to see clear and unequivocal trends in this economy, and business aviation reflects that,” Bolen said.

Corporations slashed private jet travel budgets and canceled orders for new planes during the recession. Airplane makers such as Gulfstream, Cessna Aircraft and Hawker Beechcraft have reduced workforces by thousands. With an economy growing at 1.8 percent, the private aviation recovery remains frail.

Source: NorthJersey.com