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A Perspective: Current State Of The European Pre-Owned Business Aircraft Market

November 2019

Duncan Aviation has two European-based Aircraft Sales Experts. The following is a brief look at the current state of the European pre-owned aircraft sales market from their vantage point and experience. 

The European pre-owned business aircraft market has been a net exporter for some time now, with an increasing number of US brokers seeking "bargains." Sadly, some are over-ambitious and merely serve to frustrate aircraft owners who are looking to find buyers but less keen to be seen as a registered charity. Like it or not, the European business aircraft market is massively outstripped by the US on pre-owned and new aircraft deliveries alike.

However, European brokers are an optimistic breed. If all the sales mentioned during EBACE in May came to fruition, 2019 would be a record year. Unfortunately, it is not the case.

Europe v. US Market

When comparing Europe and the US, it is fair to say that both economies and landmass are broadly comparable in size, yet the population of Europe is twice that of the US. However, despite this, the scale of the respective business aviation markets is incomparable, with stateside activity far outpacing Europe.

While the US is half the population of Europe, it has nearly 5x the number of business jets. That begs the question as to why this is. Perhaps in part, it is the politics of envy, negative media, strong environmental lobby, and weak economies in some of Europe's leading nations that continue to offer little to no good news for the European business aviation sector. Unlike the US, which has bonus depreciation and Russia who has just signaled tax changes going into effect on January 1, 2020, that have the potential for future benefits to Russian aircraft owners over the coming years.

Meanwhile, in the UK, we have the Labour Party actively talking about banning business aviation in the country should they get voted into power. 

And let’s not forget Brexit, which is by now surely the longest-running, unimplemented legislation for any European country! With all of this going on, it’s hard to foresee any significant changes coming for the market any time soon.  

OEM Sales

Fortunately for OEMs, deliveries are continuing as buyers are tempted by attractive new models coming available. However, according to a recent Honeywell survey the number of planned purchases of new deliveries has fallen by some 5%.

In spite of all this, we are closing on deals. Although finding quality aircraft listings remain one of the biggest challenges we face as brokers. Consequently we often find ourselves working more acquisition projects or on more challenging aircraft that perhaps have not flown for some time and need serious support to get back to airworthiness.

This is where Duncan Aviation, with its extensive business aviation MRO support, can make a difference. Keep in mind aircraft with the Duncan Aviation seal of approval always sell.

Interesting facts from the JetNet IQ 3rd quarter 2019 review

  • US business aviation utilization has steadily increased year-over-year since the lowest level in 2009. However, it is still well below pre GFC (Global Financial Crisis) level. Europe's traffic, however, is 0.5% down this year compared with same period last year. As a whole, European business aviation traffic is still well below the levels in 2008.
  • Since 2008, all OEMs together have added, on average, 600-700 new business aircraft per year. The United States is home to 62.4% of the more than 22,000 business aircraft in the world. In contrast, Europe, Africa, and Middle East are only 19% (4,300 aircraft).
  • Inventory of business jets for sale (as a % of the total market) peaked in 2010 at 15.1% and went down year after year to the lowest level of 8.9% in 2018. This year, however, the number of aircraft for sale has increased to 9.8% of the total fleet, which is a clear signal of the softening of the markets in general but mainly outside of the US.
  • The following aircraft segments and age have more than 10% of the fleet for sale today.
  • Large, long-range, 3 years old
  • Super midsize, 6 years old
  • Light, 10 years old
  • Very light, 4 / 5 years old 

Please reach out to the Duncan Aviation Aircraft Sales to discuss how we can assist your aircraft sale or purchase. Aircraftsales@DuncanAviation.com

Duncan Aviation European-Based Aircraft Sales Experts


Tim Barber
EMEA Aircraft Sales Rep
London, England
+44 20 3287 8986



Jose Costas
EMEA & Asia Aircraft Sales Rep
Lisbon, Portugal