It has been a tough year for the world´s business aviation industry. Unable to break free from the worst economic downturn for 70 years, this beleaguered aerospace sector has battled falling aircraft demand, a bloated used aircraft inventory and an unprecedented squeeze on bank lending. These factors have forced manufacturers to make drastic cuts in aircraft production and massive job losses across their plants.
This gloom is illustrated by the most recent General Aviation Manufacturers Association statistics, which recorded a 10% fall in business aircraft shipments for the first six months of 2010 compared with the previous year. The outlook for the next 12 months is equally bleak, says the Teal Group´s vice-president, analysis Richard Aboulafia. "We are in a three year downturn and 2011 is the trough," he says.
Flight International´s 2010 business aircraft census - compiled using Flightglobal´s ACAS business aviation database - reflects the industry´s weak performance in the 12 months from 31 August 2009. It reveals the world´s active turbine corporate aircraft fleet has climbed by less than 3% to 28,614 jets and turboprops, compared with 27,409 aircraft in 2009. "The impact of the economic recession has been felt most acutely at the lighter end of the business jet spectrum," Aboulafia admits.