Light at end of the tunnel for bizjets


In a newly released study on “The Market for Business Jet Aircraft,” Forecast International predicts that a total of 11 277 business jets, worth an estimated $197 billion, will be produced in the 10-year period to 2018.

Production is expected to total approximately 825 units in 2009, followed by 738 units in 2010, and 716 in 2011.

Annual production is projected to rise in 2012, however, and continue improving through the remainder of the forecast timeframe.

Impacted by economic weakness and collapsing financial markets, the business jet industry saw several years of tremendous growth come to a sudden halt in late 2008.

New orders dwindled to near zero; scheduled deliveries were deferred, and cancellations began eating into sizable order backlogs. In response, business jet manufacturers slashed production rates.

More recently, some encouraging signs of economic improvement have appeared. Within the business aviation world, aircraft utilisation is up; the used jet market has stabilised, and cancellation rates have subsided. All are signs of optimism, and the market appears slated to improve slowly and gradually.

Some difficulties in the market still need to be overcome. Forecast International Senior Aerospace Analyst Raymond Jaworowski says market saturation remains a problem, especially in the North American market, where large numbers of relatively new business jets reside in operators’ fleets. In addition, buyer hesitation is exacerbated by concerns over fuel and insurance costs and governmental regulations.”

In the meantime, business jet manufacturers are not sitting still. Hoping to spur on the recovery, each of the established OEMs has at least one new model in development. Some of these new models include the Cessna CJ4, the Bombardier Learjet 85, the Dassault Falcon 900LX, the Embraer Legacy 450 and 500, the Hawker Beechcraft Premier II, and the Gulfstream G250 and G650.

During the 2009-2018 time period, the Forecast International projections indicate that the top three manufacturers in terms of unit production will be Cessna, Embraer, and Bombardier. When the market is measured in monetary value of production, heavy iron builder Gulfstream takes the top spot, followed by Bombardier and Dassault.

Pic: A Gulfstream G550 business jet