Presenting the state of the European business
aviation industry at its annual press conference, Brandon Mitchener, the new CEO
of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), said that the sector was
showing promising signs of vigour after a few years of flat figures.
“We’ve now had six months of steady growth in
traffic numbers and they’re the best since 2011,” said Mitchener. “This is an
exciting time for business aviation, with innovative new aircraft, technologies
and business models coming to the fore. The industry is looking dynamic as it
expands its offerings for new and existing customers and aircraft owners.”
|Mitchener underlined Business Aviation’s
unmatched value proposition: meeting needs that no other transport option can
satisfy by helping users gain direct access to destinations while achieving huge
time savings, flexibility and full control over their schedules - even if their
itineraries combine multiple and remote destinations.
“It’s a vibrant, evolving industry and many
players are developing new ways of working that further expand customers’
freedom of choice,” said Mitchener.
"This includes online booking platforms with
faster response times, more transparency and better pricing."
EBAA member company Stratajet pointed to the
broader customer base thanks to the direct access to private jets through an
online platform. “We are reaching out to new types of customers, one-third of
whom are first-time private jet users, and many of whom are in the 25-34 age
segment, comprising a tech-savvy new audience of fliers,” said
CMO of Stratajet.
Another area where customers are gaining more
choice is in the use of single and twin engine turboprop offerings.
Managing Director of JetFly Aviation, described the potential of that
entry-level and versatile segment of business aviation following the European
Aviation Safety Agency’s recent approval of single-engine turboprop aircraft for
commercial operations in Europe.
This opens new possibilities for utilising a
single-engine turboprop that has the same range and capacity as some business
jets, according to Bouchard. “These aircraft can land on two to three times more
airfields than a jet - some 2000 airfields in Europe compared to 800 for a jet.
As a user, you get more choice, avoid congested airfields and can land closer to
your destination,” he said.
Mitchener said this was an example of how EBAA
was working on behalf of its members and the industry to ensure reasonable and
proportionate rules for the sector, as well as to promote new technologies that
enhance safety and access to smaller airports, including satellite- ased
navigation, instrument landing approaches such as LPV and augmented vision
added: “As we mark the 40th anniversary of our Association this year, we are
happy to report a steady increase in our membership numbers as well as
increasing levels of expertise and support that we are already able to provide
our member companies. And we will continue to develop further these capabilities
for our membership at this promising time for our industry.”
Looking to this month’s EBACE 2017, Mitchener
said that the 17th edition of EBACE in Geneva was going to be “this year’s best
and biggest business aviation event in Europe.”
“We have an exciting show lined up,
highlighting where the sector is going and showcasing on the static display more
than 50 of the latest generation of business aircraft and avionics equipment. In
the Palexpo halls we have more than 400 exhibitors, and we’re pleased to have
Bertrand Piccard, Founder and Pilot of Solar Impulse, the first aircraft to fly
around the world entirely on solar power, as our keynote speaker,” said