By Rob Finfrock
“The theme for this year is confidence,” CJP Industry Director and jetAVIVA CEO Cyrus Sigari told attendees of the Citation Jet Pilots association’s 2015 convention in his annual update on the current highs and lows in the Citation sales market.
Positive economic indicators, including rising small business optimism, have bolstered the sales forecast for North America. “We’re effectively at 100 percent, [which] is the highest it’s been since, effectively, 2006 or so,” Sigari noted. “People are no longer doom and gloom, and that has shifted the dynamic of the marketplace.”
Countering those positives are continued uncertainty over recent stock market fluctuations, the growing strength of the U.S. dollar that raises export prices, and the effects of lower oil production on light jet demand in traditionally strong – but energy-dependent – regions like Texas, Oklahoma, and Canada.
Internationally, Europe continues to be “a drag on the marketplace,” Sigari added, although strong piston aircraft demand throughout the EU may present an opportunity for future growth as those owners transition to turbines.
Turmoil in the BRIC countries has also led to slumping aircraft sales, though in Southeast Asia it has also driven corporate officials to consider private air travel due to safety concerns about the region’s commercial airlines.
In discussing the market for specific Citation models, Sigari noted that classic Citation 500, 501 and early CJ models may be poised for resurgence due to greater availability of retrofit glass panel avionics solutions. He also pointed to imminent certification of Tamarack Aerospace Group’s active winglet system for straight-wing Citation CJs as a potential boon for resale values of older airframes.