On 19th to 20th February some 200 delegates attended EVA’s second Future of Business Aviation Conference, held once again at the Heathrow Hilton, Terminal 5. The aim, as with the inaugural conference last February, was twofold. First, to bring about an occasion for leading figures in the industry to provide thought leadership as they pondered where the various sectors in business aviation have got to since the Great Recession of 2008, and, more important yet, what 2015 and beyond might hold in store for all of us. The second goal involved setting aside the crystal ball and using the lunch and refreshment breaks, plus the outstanding Gala Dinner on the Thursday evening, to network, chill and party. The general consensus, according to both delegates and speakers, was that both goals were achieved handsomely!
A third goal was to introduce delegates to the concept of the EVA Association (EVAA). The aim of the Association is to foster links and to promote and facilitate deals between members that might not otherwise come into fruition. The journal’s wide network of contacts generates a range of opportunities for the EVA team to play “matchmaker” between parties with common interests. Again, as EVAA grows, it will help, in its own way, to promote the industry and help drive things forward, even as EVA’s print and digital editions celebrate the industry’s successes. The idea of the Association was greeted with interest by delegates. Satcom Direct and Rani Awad’s Atlantic FuelEx have both signed up and EVA is in discussion with a number of other companies.
The conference was opened by the Chairman, Jahid Fazal Karim, co-owner and board member of Jetcraft. In the evening delegates attended EVA’s Elite Business Aviation Networking Party, with entertainment and an open bar till midnight, courtesy of the generous sponsorship of Rani Awad, CEO of Atlantic FuelEx. As readers will see from the photo session, a great time was had by all!
Some of the key takeaways from the event included:
Light jets in Europe could well recover fast as the overall economy improves. Journeys of under 2,000nm are very common and are well suited to this market segment
Bombardier and Embraer sketched out a sea change in the big jets segment. Technology changes and market demand are speeding up decision cycles and shortening the desirable life spans of new and existing models.
High quality, large investment FBO bases are under threat from the industry’s view of the FBO as just something that stands between the jet and the car park. Diversified revenue streams are the key to survival.
The pre-owned market is headed back to “normality”, defined as 10% of the active fleet, but we could still be several years away from the levels that characterised the pre-2008 market.
New materials and technologies are transforming completions and making possible new concepts in interior design – a trend that is set to accelerate over the next few years