The worst of the downturn in the business jet market is over, according to a new forecast by Forecast International. The market for business jet production is expected to show some minor improvement next year, signaling the start of a gradual — but potentially long-lasting — market recovery, the forecast said. “Business jet production in 2012 will show some minor improvement over 2011, but more substantial growth in build rates will have to wait until 2013,” Raymond Jaworowski, Forecast International senior aerospace analyst, said in a statement. The forecast projects demand for 10,907 business jets valued at $230.3 billion in the 10 years from 2011 to 2020.
Next year, production is expected to total 728 planes. But production isn’t expected to return to 2008 levels, a record for the market at 1,313 jets, until 2018. Although the worst of the downturn is over, much of the market remains sluggish, especially in the light- and medium-jet segments of the market, Jaworowski said in his report.
Demand is stronger in the large-cabin and long-range sectors. “The tale of two markets will not continue indefinitely, however,” he said in the report. Still, business aircraft usage is up, the market for used business jets has stabilized and corporate profits are strong, the forecast said. Business jet manufacturers have a number of new jets in development, such as Cessna’s Citation M2 and Latitude, Bombardier’s Global 7000 and 8000, and Gulfstream’s G650.
The manufacturers hope the new models will benefit from improved market conditions and will contribute to the recovery by stimulating demand, Jaworowski wrote in the report. The forecast predicts that the top three producers of business jets in the next 10 years in terms of volume will be Cessna Aircraft, followed by Embraer and Bombardier. By value of production, the top three companies are expected to be Gulfstream, Bombardier and Dassault, all of which build larger, more expensive, business aircraft.
Honeywell Aerospace’s annual forecast released in October forecasts similar numbers of jets. Honeywell also projects 2011 to be the trough for business jet deliveries, followed by modest growth for the next few years. The outlook projects demand for 10,000 business jets over 10 years, with half of them delivered in the next five years. It predicts that it will be the end of the decade before demand returns to pre-recession levels.
Honeywell projected deliveries for 2012 to reach about 700, up from 600 to 650 this year.