NBAA Convention News

GE takes a three-year view of business aviation scene

 - June 30, 2008, 7:39 AM

General Electric, the global giant with $126 billion in annual revenue, is at NBAA ’02 (Booth No. 633) with the expressed intent to expand its role in corporate and regional aviation.

Representatives of GE Aircraft Engines (GEAE) and its Garrett Aviation Services, through which GE makes its general aviation presence felt, reviewed yesterday where their business units are and where they expect to be three years hence. Gordon Fraser, GE Aircraft Engines CF34 program manager, noted at a press conference here that GEAE contributed $11.4 billion to General Electric Co. revenues, 9 percent of the total. Of that, nearly $5 billion–came from engine services.

Fraser commented on GEAE’s acquisition earlier this year of Unison Industries, manufacturer of aerospace and industrial ignition products worldwide. Unison’s new production, spare parts and services for a wide range of piston and turbine engines is being integrated into GE Engine Services. The GEAE corporate aviation engine line includes the CF34 for Challenger series aircraft and CRJ100/200 regional jets, the CFE738 for the Falcon 200, and the CFM56-7 powering the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), of which 52 aircraft are in service today.

Among those, the CF34 powers the largest number of aircraft, 1,280 at present, a number expected to grow more than 50 percent to 1,983 by 2005. Much of that growth is projected in new regional jets, the CRJ700 and CRJ900, the ERJ-170 and ERJ-190, forecast to make up 18 percent of all CF34 installations.

Keith Phillips, v-p of sales and marketing for Garrett Aviation Services, noting that the airline industry had pre-September 11 problems that were exacerbated by the terrorist attacks, said, “The flight departments we visit are flying more” than they were a year ago. Reflecting opportunities for expansion that have come with GE’s 1997 acquisition of Garrett Aviation Systems, Phillips said, “We have discussed with GE Engines about doing CF34 overhauls,” saying the Phoenix-based operation is looking toward “full entrance into that market.”

Overall, Garrett foresees solid growth in the coming three years, with total revenue rising from $4.5 billion this year to $5.75 billion, an annual growth rate of nearly 28 percent. Airframe maintenance and modification is expected to increase $450 million over the period, with avionics work posting the highest percentage increase–87.5 percent to $750 million. Engine work and aircraft refurbishments are likewise projected to post healthy gains.