The fourth quarter was robust across the boards for general aviation aircraft. For the first time in a long time, the aggregate numbers indicate a seller’s market. The marketplace continues to outpace anything we’ve seen in the last decade.
Both the light and mid-size jet markets are performing well. The budding pre-owned Cirrus SF50 market is also finding its stride as new sales continue to mount. Medium jets are strong, and buyers are finding they may have to spend a bit more for a low-time, pristine airplane or it will be snatched up ahead of them. On the other hand, just or near-out-of-production aircraft models are dragging down values of their older siblings as their own value edges downward. A new trend seems to be emerging with more owners keeping their aircraft and running them out, as they have now depreciated them using bonus tax incentives. Sale proceeds will cause a recapture, so some businesses are better off driving planes until they’re retired from service.
The turboprop market remains strong to end the year. PC-12s are the high dollar planes in this segment, but the market is price-sensitive. Only 5 percent of PC-12 NGs are available for sale, indicating a healthy demand. Used King Airs offer strong value now, making good demand as inventory slowly shrinks. Twin-turbine operating costs are steering some buyers to the more expensive, but more cost-efficient, single-engine turbines. Average hours flown in the heavy turboprop markets are slowly rising based on increased commercial/charter use in this segment. The TBM markets are hot, with later pre-owned (900/910) models being price-sensitive. Both TBM and Meridian are seller’s markets, each with around 6 percent of the fleet available.
Piston markets are active overall, and Cirrus is closing 2018 with a banner year. The fervor is expected to continue into 2019 with much of the year already sold in advance. Late model aircraft of all types are in high demand, and are bringing the money as long as they’re not priced out of the market. There is still a hangover from this being the first seller’s market in a long time. Those buyers who aren’t adapting quickly are missing out on the best aircraft, haggling for lower prices that are no longer available. Factory new aircraft are available in dealer inventory as the year wraps up, but with business depreciation available next year, we have lost a little bit of the end-of-year panic to spend for the write-off.
As markets continue to change, Lone Mountain Aircraft helps clients bring clarity and expertise to their side of the table. We are proud to be one of the preeminent sellers of pre-owned aircraft worldwide and offer both sales and acquisition services for all types of aircraft. Our team would love to be part of the reason behind your next success story in aviation! If you would like to be added to our TBM, Meridian, Phenom 300, Phenom 100 or SF50 quarterly reports, please email us your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org.