Europe continues to be a happy hunting ground for companies selling business aviation, with more grounds for optimism very evident in the latest Business Aviation Outlook research released by Honeywell Aerospace last November. Over the next five years, more than one in four European operators plans to purchase new business jets–a marked increase on the findings from the 2004 and 2003 surveys. And, perhaps more importantly, a higher proportion of these new aircraft (more than a quarter) are intended as additions to the fleet, rather than simply replacements.
According to Rob Wilson, president of Honeywell Aerospace’s business and general aviation division, Europe is maintaining its position as the world’s second fastest growing business aviation market–in terms of both fleet size and operator base. “This is driven by strong economies and the currency exchange advantage [that is, the relative strength of the euro against the U.S. dollar],” he told EBACE Convention News.
Over the next five years, Honeywell expects to see Europe account for 15 percent of worldwide sales of new bizjets, with North America still the dominant arena with 60 percent of the total. In more detail, the Honeywell research projects that 2006 and 2007 should be bumper years in terms of new sales to European customers–an expectation that is surely reflected in the fact that this sixth annual EBACE show is the biggest yet in terms of both exhibitors and visitors.
So what are the Europeans going to be buying? According to Honeywell, the most promising product categories are very light jets (set to account for 20 percent of all new orders on this side of the Atlantic) and both long-range and very long-range jets (which collectively will account for 23 percent).
And in this rising European tide, Honeywell expects to have a growing presence in the enlarged fleet. The latest five-year purchase projections see more than 30 percent of the anticipated new aircraft being powered by the U.S. manufacturer’s engines. Here at EBACE, Honeywell is showcasing its new HTF7000 engine family, which powers the new Challenger 300 and promises 30 percent lower ownership costs than the previous generation powerplant. The HTF7000 is also claimed to have the lowest emissions for any powerplant in its thrust class (6,500 to 7,500 pounds).
Wilson predicted ample scope for further applications of the HTF7000 technology, driven by future strong demand for more medium and medium-to-large business jets. “Other OEMs will be looking to duplicate the success of these aircraft,” he said.
The company is also touting upgrades for its existing TFE731 family of engines, which are prominent in the European bizjet fleet. According to Wilson, TFE731s that are backed by Honeywell’s maintenance support program are boosting aircraft resale values by as much as $150,000 per engine.
Along with the need for longer range, new aircraft purchases in Europe are being driven by demand for new technology in the cockpit (partly because of new technical requirements by air safety authorities) and also for more sophisticated cabin equipment. This is why Honeywell is promoting both its Primus Epic avionics suite and its new Ovation E-Series cabin management system (including the Jetmap II route display system) here at EBACE. On the Geneva static display, Honeywell is showing its own Gulfstream G550 equipped with the Ovation system–the first installation of its type.
According to Wilson, both the Primus Epic and Ovation product families will have continuing appeal in business aircraft applications because they have been designed for great flexibility and the ability to be networked with other aircraft systems. “We will definitely build on our installed base because both systems allow us and the OEMs to offer more functionality without the need for wholesale change,” he predicted.
The Ovation system, for instance, can be integrated with a wide array of cabin systems, such as satellite communications and the latest DVD technology. It allows both passengers and crew to have full control over their respective areas of the aircraft.
Wilson said that as a result of the comprehensive restructuring that Honeywell implemented last year, it has become a more solutions-based company because its staff now can interface directly with customers for all its products. Before, the Honeywell organization was strictly demarcated by product, so customer inputs as to their requirements for powerplant and avionics systems might not be considered cohesively.