On February 19, the General Aviation Manufacturer’s Association (GAMA) released its data for FY2013, which showed that the business jet industry recorded its first increase in annual shipments in five years.
As FlightGlobal underlines, data shows that business jet shipments climbed from 672 aircraft in 2012 to 678 last year, which represents a modest increase of 1%. According to GAMA, 280 top-of-the-range business jets (excluding modified airliners) were shipped in 2013 – compared with 256 in 2008 and 237 in 2012. It appears that the recovery is mainly being driven by increased deliveries to US buyers, as corporate balance sheets have stabilized and incomes rise among the wealthiest.
Another key propellant is the arrival of new ultra-long-range aircraft able to hop between continents that appeal both to globe-trotting American executives and to the “emerging-market magnates increasingly sought by business jet makers like Bombardier and Gulfstream Aerospace” reports FlightGlobal.
According to The Wall Street Journal, one of the signs of recovery is traffic at the New York-area Teterboro Airport, which is one of the world’s busiest for corporate aviation, as a privileged gateway for Wall Street’s elite. It appears that the airport’s activity has returned to 2008 levels. Aircraft movements rose 5% in 2013, having fallen in 4 of the 6 previous years.
The biggest jump in sales last year came in North America, whose share of total deliveries rose to 52.4% from just under half in 2012. The US still dominates the global market, with almost 11,500 private jets in service, according to data from aviation consulting firm Ascend.
Business aircraft activity is maintaining its positive momentum into the 2014, according to the latest TraqPak data from aviation services company Argus. By aircraft category, jets continued their climb and turboprops lagged again. Large-cabin jet flying posted a 9.7% increase, while light and midsize jet activity rose by 6.1% and 3.7%, respectively, year-over-year.
As the market waits for a full recovery, business jet manufacturers have continued to launch new or upgraded program. Last year marked the first deliveries of a handful of new models. According to FlightGlobal, Bombardier has shipped 18 Learjet superlight/light Learjet 70/75s in the 4th quarter. During the same period, Cessna handed over a dozen superlight Citation M2s along with 13 Sovereign+ midsize jets which is an upgraded version of its Sovereign. Dassault delivered the first 2000S in the 2nd quarter and ended the year with 12 of the new super midsize twinjets in service. Large aircraft are still counting for a major part of the order book value as underlined by the Bombardier Business Jet Forecast 2012-2032. One of the biggest-selling models appears to be the Gulfstream G650, which lists for $64.5mn, and is a major contributor to Gulstream’s profit. As the Wall Street Journal reports, “the shift toward such larger, pricier models helped push up global spending on business aircraft by 23% to $21.1bn last year, compared with a peak of $21.9bn in 2008”.
Finally 2014 will see the service entry of a handful of new and upgraded designs, namely the super midsize Challenger 350, the high-speed Citation X+, the midsize Learjet 85 and Embraer Legacy 500 as well as the light cabin HondaJet HA-420. “Across the business and general aviation spectrum the signs are positive, fuelling cautious optimism for the industry in 2014,” declared GAMA President, Pete Bunce.
One path to be explored is the rising demand in emerging markets that are becoming far more important. The Asia-Pacific region, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa collectively accounted for 32% of deliveries last year, nearly double their 17% share in 2007. Brazil has the secondmost private jets in service, with 750, and mainland China crept into the top 10 last year, with 182, plus another 100 based in Hong Kong.
Next step for the market will be the EBACE tradeshow, to be held in May in Switzerland. French OEM Dassault Aviation recently announced a brand new project will be disclosed there – the M1000.
Republished courtesy ADIT – The Bulletin.