Business aviation may still be brimming with righteous indignation over recent attacks by President Barack Obama (in the row over bonus depreciation) and The Wall Street Journal (over the Block Aircraft Registration Request issue), but it now faces bigger and more tangible problems.
Financial crisis of 2007–2009
Barely two years ago prospective business aircraft buyers in Europe were among the most sought-after clients for a banking industry attracted both to the high rates of growth in this market sector and to the exceptional strength of asset values, driven largely by soaring demand and long delivery backlogs.
In the business aircraft market, the oil-rich Middle East has been an extremely important source in recent years of wealthy customers with a seemingly insatiable appetite for the largest, most sophisticated (and expensive) business jets available.
Jet fuel prices are soaring, capital markets are drying up, Western economies at best are stalled and defense budgets are under threat as shrinking tax bases swell national debts to unsustainable levels. But you won’t find many prophets of doom among the top aerospace executives gathered here for the 2008 Farnborough International show.