“If you are a corporate pilot, that raise you had been hoping for probably isn’t going to materialize. If you sell aircraft for a living, those “prime prospects” you anticipated signing up…six months ago probably are no closer to making a commitment than they were then. If you operate an FBO, you’ve noticed a significant drop in the number of aircraft taxiing across your ramp. If (God forbid) you work for an aircraft manufacturer, you’re probably in the midst of an extended, multi-week, no-pay “vacation”.
In short, the aviation business – nearly everyone’s business – stinks. The entire economy is besieged by a paralyzing, crushing recession that shows little sign of disappearing any time soon. Even those companies or individuals that have the cash on hand to make a significant and needed purchase are holding back because they don’t see any prospects of the economy improving in the near future, and they fear the recession will get worse before conditions improve.”
If these words ring true for your current situation, take heart. They were first printed in July 1982 in Business & Commercial Aviation. Despite all the talk that you hear about this recession being different from all the previous ones, the words above serve to remind us that we’ve been here before. I’ll admit, I was not in this business in 1982 (I’ll also admit that I was in grade school at the time). However, I was around for the most recent correction in 2001, and I remember everyone saying how that one was different because the “dot coms” were built on a house of cards that had no real value and would not recover.
I will agree with the experts out there that a great deal of the economic growth we have experienced since the last down turn was built on residential housing equity which seems to have evaporated over the last 6 months. However, one thing I know is that I can’t predict where this country might find its next growth industry. We have built wealth on an incredibly diverse number of industries including: real estate, manufacturing, technology, software, oil, and an unlimited other industries over the last 200+ years. I’m personally pulling for green technologies for our next growth industry, but your guess is as good as mine.
Bottom line, when we do recover and when the growth industry of tomorrow starts spreading their products to the rest of the world, they will rely on corporate aviation to sell their wares in today’s global marketplace. We may continue to take it on the chin for a while, but when someone has an idea that they have to convey to markets on the other side of the world, are they going to trust that vision to the schedule of the airlines? The global marketplace moves too quickly to travel through the old “hub & spoke” system.
If desperation really is the key to inspiration, I am banking on the fact that a lot of people are going to be incredibly inspired very soon.
Toby J. Smith
JBA Aviation, Inc.