ALTHOUGH 60% of UK corporate and general aviation operators admit to a growth in business optimism over the last six months, this figure is only 5% higher than two years ago. According to the General Aviation Manufacturers and Traders Association (GAMTA), this suggests that economic conditions in the industry are improving, but there is still no evidence of a lasting "feel-good" factor.

GAMTA has conducted a survey of its members to gauge what improvement, if any has been seen in trading conditions during the first half of 1995. The questions asked were identical to those set in a similar survey at the same time two years ago.

In many areas a dramatic upturn can be noted. On the question of aircraft sales and enquiries, for example, nearly half (46.9%) the members canvassed said that the situation was better than six months ago - up from a third during the same period in 1993. Among air charter and taxi operators, 44.4% said that they had seen an improvement (compared to 20.8% in 1993); while 63.6% of operators said that flying training hours were up (compared to 31.3% in 1993).

GAMTA chief executive Graham Forbes says that those operators able to tap into an export market have fared better than those restricted to a UK home market which has remained static.

He says that, despite good signs, the overall lack of optimism can be explained by a lack of confidence in the long-term future of the economy. "There have been too many false horizons in the past for that to happen just yet," he says.

Source: Flight International