Written by Fabrice Roger, Jetcraft Sales Director, Latin America
[email protected] +1 305 989 0776
A few months ago, the business aviation industry gathered in Sao Paulo, Brazil for the 11th annual Latin American Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (LABACE) show. The fact that over 15,000 attendees (a new record) gathered at LABACE in itself speaks to the acceptance of private jet ownership across Latin America. This is especially true in Brazil which is the economic powerhouse of the region and the biggest market in terms of business aviation in Latin America. It has the world’s second largest private fleet and represents over 5 percent of the global market for business aviation.
But other nations in the region are also showing solid growth rates. For example, business aircraft ownership increased by 10 percent in Columbia from 2012-2013. Mexico has also posted impressive gains over the same time period. Some analysts even predict that over the next five years demand for business aircraft in Latin America will represent as much as 18–20 percent of global demand — outstripping traditionally strong markets such as Europe. So what are the factors and trends driving this growth and how can it continue?
One major factor is a growing economy. Latin America is home to many new millionaires and billionaires, and they are increasingly seeing the benefits of private aircraft ownership. Along with strengthening economies, the region as a whole is becoming more international. With more commercial opportunities available across the region as well as around the globe, the need for business travel grows.
A related factor is that the fleets across Latin America tend to be older, meaning they will need to be replaced more rapidly than in some other areas of the globe. According to Honeywell’s Business Aviation Forecast, almost 40 percent of the total Latin American fleet will be replaced or added to with new jet purchases within the next decade. At the same time, 52 percent of these new purchases will take place within the next two to three years. This translates to rapid growth in the short term.
Another reason for the growth of private aircraft ownership in the region is that it is often seen as a necessity to getting business done. For example, Brazil is as big as the continental United States with many rural areas often not served by major airports. This means there is a true need for business aviation to access large parts of the country.
But convenience is also a factor. In a nation such as Mexico, a dynamic economy has fostered many new and successful entrepreneurs interested in business aviation. On top of that, Mexico’s convenient geographical location makes it a key market between the US and Latin American countries.
In these cases, private jets are needed to simply get business done quickly and efficiently. Executives see their competitors enjoying the benefits of aircraft ownership and naturally want to experience these benefits as well.
Overall we are seeing demand for all types of aircraft across the region. Historically, light and midsize business jets have reigned in Latin America, but more recently large business jets have experienced a significant growth with more and more demand for G450/G550/G650, Legacy 600, Global 5000/6000 and Falcon 7X’s. The needs of Latin American customers are as diverse as the region itself.
The long-term future of business aviation in Latin America remains solid. The region as a whole is becoming more international which means there is greater need and demand for private aircraft ownership. Greater acceptance of business aviation and an improving infrastructure is helping to create a boom in sales that will likely continue for some time. Those looking for future growth in our industry should certainly consider the Latin American market.