The famous MAKS 2007 Aerospace and Aviation Salon closed on Sunday, attracting 787 exhibitors, 540 local and 247 foreign. Participants from 39 countries worldwide showcased new aircraft, advanced technology and equipment. Bizav manufacturers were there too, displaying their jets and a keen interest in to promote them on local emerging markets. In this overview of MAKS we would like to focus specifically on the bizav participants.
Gulfstream Aerospace exhibited its flagship - the top-end G550, an absolute leader among ULRs. The lush jet in corporate white attracted not only business aviation professionals but casual visitors of the Salon as well. Beside it was the legendary G IV, produced until 2002 but still a big hit both on the charter and the pre-owned market where five year olds are sold for 28-30 mln USD.
Dassault Falcon presented its newest trijet Falcon 7X, the one of the few recent all-new bizjet design on the market with the exception of new VLJ models. The twin-engine Falcon 2000 – its smaller and more modest, but none the less interesting sibling – was on display by its side.
Bombardier Aerospace opted to display the large Challenger 605 that is replacing the popular 604 model. The new jet boasts a spacious comfortable cabin and great performance at a reasonable price.
Hawker Beechcraft, formerly Raytheon Aircraft, had three aircraft to exhibit – the mid-size Hawker 850XP, the light Premier IA and the long popular King Air 350 twin-turboprop. This line-up was the most diverse among all business aviation exhibitors present at MAKS 2007.
The “Brazilian miracle” Embraer Legacy 600 was also on static display. Only a few years after its debut on the bizjet market, the Legacy is enjoying high demand the world over (Russia included) due to its advantageous mix of large cabin, high performance and value for money.
Besides the King Air 350 mentioned above, turboprops – constituting the lower end of the market – were represented by several models. Dexter, a provider of air taxi service in Russia, showed off its newcomer – the Swiss-made single-engine PC-12 by Pilatus Aircraft. The PC-12 received world recognition since its inception in the early 90s and is now seen as an industry standard for its class. Dexter also showcased its Russian-made M101T “Sokol”, which is now the workhorse of its air taxi fleet. Another turboprop, the single-engine 5-seat Meridian from New Piper Aircraft, was an example of combining premium avionics, a pressurised cabin, an impressive service ceiling and range with the efficiency of a light prop.
A few trends seen at MAKS 2007 are worth noting. The manufacturers showcased mainly large jets and ULRs that are traditionally in high demand in Russia and represent the top end of the market. The only midsize and light jets were put on display by Hawker Beechcraft. The lower end was more diversely represented by turboprops, which made the static display at MAKS bipolar, with practically no jets falling in the mid-market category. Of course, the appearance of turboprops that shows the rise of interest in Russia to low-end aircraft is a good sign. However the polarity of the expo may lead to the conclusion that there is no demand for mid-market jets in Russia which, we have reason to claim, is not the case.
This year yielded several important aviation events in Europe: EBACE 2007 in May followed by Paris Air Show, MAKS 2007 just over with Jet Expo 2007 set to follow in September. MAKS is a divergent exhibition attracting specialists from all fields, and participation may be seen by manufacturers as prestigious but not essential in terms of sales. This was indirectly confirmed by the absence of the bizjet elite: luxurious jets by Airbus and Boeing. More surprisingly, MAKS was ignored by one of the market leaders – Cessna Aircraft, that is traditionally high on sales in turboprops and midsize, light and very light jets.
With only one month to go before Jet Expo 2007 kicks off, it is highly probable manufacturers were diverted from MAKS. The growth of business aviation in Russia is evident and manufacturers are showing keen interest in taking their share, which makes such an explanation well-grounded. Let’s wait and see at Jet Expo.
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