The private air travel industry, which supports thousands of jobs in and around Teterboro Airport, has been slowly recovering from the financial crash of 2008 and global recession that followed, and the rebound seems to be picking up steam.
Takeoffs and landings at Teterboro — by far the country's busiest private jet airport as measured by domestic business-jet flights — climbed 5 percent last year, the biggest increase since 2010.
And now some of Teterboro's aircraft service companies, known in the industry as fixed base operations, are investing in their businesses with an eye on growth.
One FBO, Meridian, a fixture at Teterboro since the late 1950s, has been hiring again after trimming staff in 2009, and it added two planes to its fleet of managed aircraft at the end of last year, bringing the total to 24 planes, most of which are available for charter. It also is building a terminal at an airport in Northern California's Silicon Valley.
Basel, Switzerland-based Jet Aviation, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, recently renovated its Teterboro maintenance hangar and expanded its ramp there by 70,000 square feet, making room to park up to 25 more aircraft.
Dassault Falcon Jet, whose U.S. division is based at Teterboro, delivered 77 new business jets last year, up from 66 the year before, and its billings increased to $3.47 billion from $2.94 billion, according to data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
Such developments suggest a private aviation turnaround may at last be taking hold at Teterboro.
"Our industry fell precipitously in '08 and '09 as did the whole economy, and we are climbing our way back," said Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association. "It feels like things may be getting a little bit better."
For those in the private jet business, the recession hit particularly hard. When the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers shook the financial world, corporations tightened travel budgets, and expensive private jet travel fell into cost-cutters' cross hairs. By the end of 2009, takeoffs and landings at Teterboro had dropped by about 25 percent. At airports around the country, including Teterboro, private aircraft service, fueling and maintenance firms reduced staff. Some companies were forced to close shop or sell out to competitors. Deliveries of new aircraft plummeted worldwide and the value of used jets declined by as much as half.
But 2013 business jet arrivals and departures, foreign and domestic, were on track at the end of November to top 4 million for the first time since 2008, according to the latest Federal Aviation Administration data, though it is still running at a pace below the 4.8 million peak reached in 2007.
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