Market Report: Is Stability Returning to the Market?
By Bruce Byerly
Signs point to continued stability in the Twin Commander market
Notably, fewer Commanders were advertised for sale this past month than I can recall in the last five years.
Since 2009, we have seen a gradual decline in available inventory for sale. While it's no surprise that markets across the board have seen soft pricing in recent years, what is surprising is the stability of inventory in the Commander market. Aircraft market data source JETNET showed a 27 to 40 pct increase in available inventory for the competitive turboprop-model markets over the last few years, but the Commander inventory has remained stable over the period. That is the good news for sellers; the less-welcome reality is that, despite stable inventory, demand overall has been soft, which leads to lower prices in all markets.
Further evidence of market stability comes from JETNET News, which reports that "Fleet For Sale" percentages for all market sectors were down in the February comparisons. Business turboprops came in well below the 10 pct mark, clearly moving it into a seller's market. Business jet sale transactions increased 7.7 pct YTD ending February 2012 compared to 2011.
However, it was pointed out that "Both turbine and piston helicopters saw double-digit declines in sale transactions YTD at 15.5 pct and 18.6 pct respectively. The business jet market sector was the only one to show a decline (82 days) in average days on the market YTD ending February 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.
"The remaining market sectors took more days to sell. In particular, the business turboprop and piston helicopter market sectors took more than two months on average to sell . . .for January and February 2012, sale transactions were decreasing while average asking prices were increasing at double-digit rates..."
Commander JetProps continued the unusual trend in March of fewer new aircraft to market, less inventory, and several aircraft trading prior to reaching the market as buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines jump at the right aircraft prior to marketwide exposure.
The proven Twin Commander continues to be a great option for those interested in high utility, low fuel consumption, and an extremely flexible operating envelope, coupled with aggressive support from authorized service senters and Twin Commander Aircraft regarding aging issues. As popular avionics and upgrade paths continue to be developed for the Commander line, I believe the trend toward market stability should continue.
Bruce Byerly is vice president at Naples Jet Center and a long-time Twin Commander sales professional.