When the ball dropped on New Years, no one expected the reality that is 2020. As the first wave of COVID-19 inched its way closer to the U.S., it quickly became apparent that life was about to change as we know it. COVID-19 has left its mark on nearly every aspect of American life and business – the private aviation sector is no exception. While many industries are enduring slower times, private aviation is experiencing the opposite. At the time of this article, Lone Mountain is observing a year-over-year increase in activity of 30 percent.
“The reasoning is simple,” said LMA President Mark Rogers. “Many of our clients tell us that there is no way their family is getting on a commercial flight with the threat of the pandemic.”
According to Rogers, those on the fence about owning and flying their own aircraft before COVID-19 are now confident in moving forward. It’s not just a desire anymore – it’s a logical next move to protect their families and colleagues.
“Not only does it make sense from a health standpoint, but also a logistical one,” said Spencer Bain. “Commercial flights are cumbersome to deal with right now at best. Flights are constantly canceled and rescheduled. It’s not a practical solution for business travel.”
According to Rogers, Lone Mountain’s emphasis on technologically advanced, pre-owned aircraft is attracting many new clients looking for anything from a piston to a light jet. On the other hand, large-cabin business jets are seeing the opposite effect as flight departments look for ways to shed costs and justify the expense with their board.
“We’ve helped many entrepreneurs acquire an aircraft who weren’t even considering private aviation pre-COVID,” said Lone Mountain Sales Representative Paul Sallach. “A few have made an offer on a Monday and taken delivery as early as that Friday. We understand their business can’t stop just because their flight solution is no longer viable, and we are working hard to make quick closings possible.”
The quick influx of those new to the industry means fewer owner-operators and more backseat owners choosing a pro-flown operation. Clients seeking a safe transportation mode are intrigued by The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). So far, in 2020, LMA has been able to assist 15 clients with their purchase of a Vision Jet, and that number is expected to climb.
That’s not to say that everyone entering the general aviation world due to the pandemic is hiring a pilot. Flight training operations are also seeing an uptick in activity, with many of our clients in the business reporting record activity. One flight training facility we spoke to provided over 1,000 hours of dual instruction in July alone.
If anyone needed an excuse to fly their own aircraft, 2020 is that excuse. It will be a record year for many private aviation companies, and shows promise for hundreds of pilots entering the industry.
If you are considering your next step in private aviation, Lone Mountain would love to be a part of your journey. Visit LoneMountainAircraft.com to connect with our team. Until then, stay safe.