The year was characterized by large price decreases but a stable level of transactions in terms of the number of aircraft sold. However there were some sectors that saw major changes. For example the large aircraft market went from being quite resilient to being the sector that saw some of the largest price discounts. Aircraft sales in the USA remained strong. Europe was a net seller of aircraft with the three largest markets, Germany, England and France, all seeing their private jet fleets shrink in 2015 as the trend towards sales to the USA continued.
Mid-size aircraft, such as the Citation Excel and the XLS held their values quite well and saw a large decline in available inventory as buyers realised the value these aircraft. Light Jets held up well in terms of the number of transactions with the Citation Mustang being the highest selling aircraft to European buyers. The Bravo was the second highest selling aircraft in Europe, and the CJ3 was fourth. Of the top 10 selling aircraft to European buyers, 7 were light jets, one was mid-size and two were large cabin aircraft. The high sale of light jets is largely attributable to the incredible value they represent.
There were some reasons to be positive as well. Last year saw a number of transactions by European buyers for smaller and older aircraft with European lenders providing aircraft finance. Lack of finance has been a huge issue in recent years and the entry of the banks into the older European private aircraft market is a very positive indicator towards a much more buoyant market. Hopefully this trend will see more buyers coming to the market.
What can be expected for 2016? “We believe the large price decreases of 2015 will continue into 2016. However, there will still be strong transaction numbers as the aircraft on offer are of such good value, particularly in the 8+ year old aircraft that have seen the bulk of their depreciation already. Markets are tough, but deals are happening. Vigilance and persistence will be the name of the game in 2016”, said Oliver Stone, Managing Director at Colibri Aircraft.