Demand for business jets is at a record level and the credit squeeze has so far had little impact on new orders from the world’s executive and wealthy individual high-flyers. Waiting lists for many models stretch to 2010 and beyond.
“Industry growth has moved into unparalleled territory,” Rob Wilson, president for business and general aviation at Honeywell Aerospace, one of the world’s leading aerospace systems suppliers, said Sunday.
According to the Honeywell annual business aviation outlook, published Sunday, 2007 will mark the fourth successive year of growth since the trough of 2003, with annual business jet deliveries set to exceed 1,000 this year for the first time, up from 861 last year. Deliveries are forecast to rise to more than 1,300 in 2008.
Mr Wilson said this was a record year for the industry. “Order intake across most business jet categories remains very strong, with little discernible effect from recent stock market fluctuations. With [order] backlogs exceeding two-and-a-half years’ worth of deliveries, 2008 will likely be another banner year for the industry.”
The Honeywell study, one of the most authoritative guides to the fortunes of the business jet industry, had already taken into account the forecast of slower rates of economic growth in the US and the expected impact of the recent turmoil in financial markets, said Mr Wilson.
While executive jet purchase expectations have declined a little in North America, traditionally the heartland of the industry, fleet plans have “expanded significantly” in all other regions of the world, according to the report.
The arguments in favour of private aviation, such as increased executive productivity, time-saving and the avoidance of congested hub airports, have been gaining support elsewhere in the world.
“International buyers now account for about 50 per cent of the new aircraft deliveries projected over the next five years,” says the report.
The Honeywell report forecasts sales of about 14,000 business jets in the 10 years from 2007 to 2017, which are worth about $ 233bn, and which support the delivery plans of the leading makers, Bombardier of Canada; Gulfstream, Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft of the US; and France’s Dassault.