U.S. To Lead Bizjet Recovery

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It may be time for many bizjet sales people to cash in those frequent flyer points, at least according to one analyst. The Gerson Lehrman Group says growth in business aircraft sales will come mostly from the U.S. as companies recover from the current recession and get back to business as usual. The overseas market has been leading the charge in recent years. While "excess" is definitely out of style at the moment, the firm says the fact is that growing companies can't do without business aviation. "The market for business jets is tied to GDP closely, with activity mirroring the economy domestically," the firm said. " As the US economy recovers, so will the business aircraft market and fortunes of Cessna, Bombardier, Gulfstream, Dassault, Hawker Beechcraft, Embraer and others." The big question is when and that's almost entirely dependent on the availability of financing.

Gerson Lehrman says the return to normal credit availability depends on the speed with which the banking system rids itself of "toxic assets" and money becomes available. "Currently, business jet financing remains weak, albeit improving slightly, and the market appears to be bottoming, both in terms of values for used aircraft and firming demand," the company said. It predicts an uptick in business by the end of this year and a return to the boom times of 2007 as early as 2011.