5 reasons why the USA leads the world in business aviation

NBAA 2012This week some of the PrivateFly team have headed to NBAA 2013, the National Business Aviation Association.

NBAA is the world’s biggest exhibition for the business aviation industry, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Henderson Executive Airport, USA.

NBAA 2013 is a huge event for key business aviation figures across the world, who gather to listen to latest industry thinking, assess new products and services.

And of course,  to look at some of the most exciting new aircraft on display (more on that in a forthcoming blog).

The USA is the only real choice of location for a global gathering in our industry.

Business aviation was born there and the USA still dominates in so many ways, despite exciting growth happening these days in the emerging markets as Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East.

Even Europe, with an economy equal to the USA (and a business aviation market that’s well-established), sees only a quarter of the jet movements of its transatlantic rival.

So the USA still leads the world when it comes to business aviation. Here are 5 key reasons why:

1) America saw the birth of the industry, with the first ever business jet flight 50 years ago.

Bill Lear’s Lear Jet 23 is widely perceived as the first purpose-built business jet. It first flew from Wichita, Kansas in October 1963. Just nine months after the first flight, and at a total cost of just $14 million, the Lear Jet was certified by the FAA and ready for commercial sale. The name Lear Jet then became synonymous with private jet travel for many years to come. More on 50 years of the private jet.

2) The USA accounts for half of the world’s private jet buyers.

According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the USA saw 49.7% market share of new aircraft in 2012, versus Europe 20.8%; Asia Pacific 11.8%; Latin and South America 11.6%; Africa and the Middle East: 6.1%.

Los Angeles’ Van Nuys Airport3) The world’s busiest business aviation airport is in the USA.

Over 259,000 private private takeoffs and landings took place at Los Angeles’ Van Nuys Airport in 2012, making it the busiest general aviation airport in the world. Van Nuys is dedicated to general aviation and serves the busy area of Los Angeles.

The cross-country city pairing of Van Nuys to New York’s Teterboro airport is one of the most well-trodden private jet routes in the world.

4) It dominates private jet manufacturing.

Several of the big aircraft manufacturers are US-owned companies, such as Cessna and Gulfstream.  Bombardier is Canadian, but has a foot across the border, since it acquired Lear Jet – the original American private jet brand.

Even many manufacturers who are based elsewhere in the world have manufacturing plants in the US. Brazilian manufacturer Embraer has a plant in Melbourne, Florida. Pan-European manufacturer Airbus is currently building its first in the USA, in Mobile, Alabama – with aircraft assembly planned to begin there in 2015. The US offers a highly-skilled workforce so this is no surprise. And given still such a large proportion of buyers are American, it reduces shipping distances.

5) The concept of the FBO evolved in the USA.

The FBO (which stands for Fixed Base Operator) is a globally-recognised industry term, meaning a private jet terminal. This can vary from a tiny cabin at some airports, to award-winning architecture and world-class VIP facilities in others. The term dates back to the US air commerce act of 1926, which required aircraft operators to have a ‘fixed base’ to differentiate them from unregulated, travelling aviators. More about the history of FBOs.

The worlds leading FBO chain, Signature Flight Support, now has 65 FBOs in the States. (Surprisingly though Signature’s parent company BBA started in Scotland in 1878 – I like to look for Scottish links where I can!).

PrivateFly’s USA network is extensive with over 2000 accredited private jets in North America and our USA operation will soon be opening in New York.

Phone PrivateFly’s dedicated USA team today for private jet pricing on 1866 726 1222