Who remembers the good old days? What fun we had. How distant they seem. The business jet makers partied hard in that far-off age of 2006-08. They have spent their time since nursing hangovers.

The business aviation shows back then were awash with start-ups and their bold plans to revolutionise air taxis, charter or fractionals - with big orders to back them up. Surging prices and stretching waiting lists were convincing speculators that securing a place on a programme schedule was a surefire investment.

The upshot was an inflated orderbook that gave industry a hopelessly artificial buffer when the economy began to tank in 2008. At the EBACE convention that May the talk was still about the challenge of meeting lengthening backlogs and dismissing the dip in demand as a welcome correction.

Fast forward to EBACE last week, and a chastened industry was sheepishly regretting having done nothing to puncture a bubble that burst spectacularly in the last months of 2008, as one start-up after another failed, the buoyant Russian market went quiet and corporate America fell out of love with the corporate jet.

There is every sign that the market will recover - perhaps even swiftly from next year, and with emerging economies again leading the charge. But the industry must never again allow itself to lose a grip on reality as even wise heads did in the supposedly golden years.

Source: Flight International