7 business aviation predictions for 2020

It’s been another eventful year here at PrivateFly. Having joined Directional Aviation’s OneSky group of companies towards the end of last year, 2019 has seen us double our global presence and start to reap the benefits of being part of a wider group for our suppliers, partners and our team – and of course for our private jet charter clients.

Search for flights

The next twelve months are set to bring more exciting innovation and growth – including steps forward in our technology and more exclusive on-demand offerings for our clients.  But what can the wider business aviation industry expect to see in 2020? Here are my predictions for the year ahead.

2020 runway

1) Electric aircraft accelerated

I believe business aviation will be the first sub-sector to implement electric aviation. With current limitations on battery capacity (to weight), the first generation of certified electric aircraft will be small and short range – rather than commercial airliners.

In fact, just last week we saw the world’s first all-electric commercial test flight take place in Canada in a small seaplane. And with around 200 electric aircraft programs in development globally, 2020 will see further key milestones reached, and further test flights recorded.

I think (and hope) we’ll also see more lobbying to governments to speed the progress of electrification, both in aircraft development and in regulation and infrastructure.

2) Sustainability communications at the forefront

Business aviation has been focussed on improving efficiency and mitigating its environmental impact in lots of ways, over many years. But with awareness of climate change now accelerating rapidly, this year will see companies moving towards self-governance, and communicating their efforts publicly.

While our sector’s carbon emissions represent only a tiny percentage of aviation as a whole, corporate and individual clients will become more thoughtful about who they choose to fly with. So for flight providers in our industry, a clear sustainability strategy, and one which is credible and considered, will be an essential commercial consideration – as well as an environmental one.

This will also create business opportunities in business aviation  (as in other industries) for tools and services to help companies manage and measure their carbon footprint, and support their offsetting and other sustainability needs.

Eviation Alice electric aircraft exterior

Eviation’s Alice is one of the leading all-electric private aircraft concepts. Image: Eviation


3) Brexit will be resolved (and it will all be OK)

The uncertainty around Brexit has dented demand over the past year. With the UK so central to business aviation in Europe, and floating fleets operating fluidly across borders, this has affected the whole of Europe.

Following last week’s UK General Election, it now seems the terms of Brexit will be worked out in 2020, and we can start to move forwards with more confidence and understanding of the UK’s new aviation relationship with the rest of Europe.

London has been the busiest city in Europe for business aviation activity for many years and I believe this will remain the case in 2020 – and beyond.

Farnborough airport

London and the rest of the UK is central to Europe’s business aviation market.

4) More industry consolidation

Business models are continuing to evolve rapidly in our sector, with some succeeding and growing, and some failing.

It’s never been more important for clients to have confidence in stability of their private aviation provider. We’re already seeing this in the US and I predict there will be more acquisitions, mergers and unfortunately some losses in Europe in 2020.

5) New aircraft on the rise 

2019 saw many long-awaited new aircraft programs entering service, with shipments reaching highest levels for a decade. 2020 can’t compete on the basis of new models, but it is set to be a year of signficant growth for several recent market entries.

Embraer’s new Praetor 600 will lead growth in the super-midsize pack, and will soon be joined by its sister the Praetor 500. At the top of the market, Bombardier are set to ramp up deliveries for the supersize Global 7500, which entered the market this year.

Further down the size spectrum, we’re expecting to see further significant growth in deliveries of the Pilatus PC-24. And 2020 will also be a big year for the HondaJet, which will hold its crown as the most-delivered Very Light Jet and see significant growth in the on-demand charter market.

6) More extreme weather demand

Over the past few years we’ve seen major spikes in on-demand charter activity related to extreme weather events. From forest fires, to flooding, to hurricanes and heavy snowfall, private aviation can fly in quickly, when and where required.

With these events seemingly getting more frequent, we’re expecting more of this type of demand in 2020.

Jul 12, 2012; London, UNITED KINGDOM; Aerial view of Wembley Stadium (left) and Wembley Arena. Wembley Stadium will play host to the soccer competition for the 2012 London Olympics. Wembley Arena is the venue for badminton and rhythmic gymnastics. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

London’s Wembley Stadium is one of the twelve stadium venues hosting the Euro 2020 football championships.

7) The Euro 2020 championships will be a welcome boost in Europe

While economic and market conditions will remain challenging in Europe, the summer of 2020 is set to see the industry receive a welcome boost by the UEFA 2020 European Championships.

To mark the 60th anniversary, the Championship will be hosted across Europe in twelve stadium venues, which is likely to fuel additional on-demand travel requests from teams, corporates, sponsors and groups of fans – particularly in the latter stages.

If you’re planning to fly in 2020 our expert team is available 24/7 for private jet charter advice and pricing. Contact us or call 020 7100 6960.