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Forecasts Predict Long-Term Positive Growth of New Business Jet Deliveries

July 3, 2013

Recent industry forecasts predict a sustained rebound in the business aviation market starting this year and extending into the next decade and beyond.

On June 14, business aircraft maker Bombardier Aerospace released its annual 20-year forecast for the business and commercial aircraft markets. The company’s Business Aircraft Market Forecast estimates deliveries of about 24,000 business jets, valued at $650 billion, from now until 2032. Bombardier estimates about 9,800 business jets, valued at $269 billion, will be delivered through 2021. The company anticipates another 14,200 jets, worth $381 billion, will be delivered between 2022 and 2032. They predict the market will begin improving in 2014 and will surpass the 2008 peak in business jet deliveries as early as 2016.

While it expects deliveries in 2013 to roughly equal those of 2012, Bombardier does see signs of improvement in the near term. “It is expected that as confidence returns to world markets, aircraft orders and backlogs will expand and deliveries will grow,” the company said in a press release summarizing its report.

In fact, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reported in May that year-over-year shipments of general aviation aircraft for the first quarter of this year rose by 9.6 percent, while total billings increased by almost 32 percent to $4.6 billion, up from $3.5 billion the prior year. A total of 458 aircraft were delivered in this year’s first quarter, compared with 418 delivered during the first quarter of 2012, with most of the growth occurring in the large-cabin/long-range business jet segment, according to GAMA’s report.

Bombardier’s report follows the release earlier in June of a revised 10-year business jet forecast from aircraft services firm Zenith Jet. The Montreal-based company now estimates total deliveries of 9,234 business jets worth $255 billion between 2013 and 2022. That represents a slight (1.8 percent) decline from the 9,400 deliveries Zenith Jet estimated when it first released the forecast in February. However, the firm increased its billings estimate for the period by $2 billion.

Interestingly, Zenith Jet does predict a modest slowdown between 2017 and 2019, based on previous business jet economic cycles. “From peak to trough, the contraction of the slowdown in this business cycle is expected to be 37 percent,” the company said in its forecast revision.

Not surprisingly, both Bombardier and Zenith forecast that most business jet deliveries during the period will go to North America. Despite the economic downturn now battering the continent, Europe is expected to maintain its position as the world’s second-largest business jet market.

Still, Bombardier estimates that deliveries to emerging markets will increase, especially shipments to China, which it forecasts will become the third largest market for new business jets, with 1,000 deliveries forecast there between 2013 and 2022. Bombardier expects another 1,420 deliveries will go to China between 2023 and 2032.

The report also pointed to Brazil, India, Russia, Mexico and Turkey as key growth markets during the forecast period, which will boost both large and medium business jet categories.

Both forecasts compare well with Honeywell Aerospace’s 21st Annual Business Aviation Forecast, which was released last year during NBAA’s 2012 Convention in Orlando. It estimated that nearly 10,000 new business jets, valued at about $250 billion, will be delivered by 2022.