The sharing economy started as a way to fill spare bedrooms and reuse old power drills. It now includes the rich flying around in private jets.
Last week, troubled Canadian manufacturer Bombardier said it would cease production of its storied Learjet before the end of 2021, and would cut 1,600 jobs. The writing had been on the wall for the light-jet line for some time, as buyers shifted toward heavier private planes.
Ironically, some now see better prospects for the Learjet’s market segment than for most in the embattled aviation industry. Analysts at Jefferies expect private aircraft deliveries to rise 10% this year, after a 24% decline in 2020, led by light and medium-size jets. Heavy ones are forecast to keep falling.
This is partly because of travel restrictions on long-range destinations, but it could also be an early sign of yet another transformation within private aviation.
Last week, Dubai-based private-aviation company Vista Global said new members for its VistaJet subscription service, in which customers pay per hour flown and have guaranteed access to a plane within 24 hours, increased 29% last year. Its sister brand XO tripled its sales of new memberships.