Turbine deliveries skyrocketed in first half of 2005

 - September 29, 2006, 9:57 AM

Deliveries of new turbine business airplanes–particularly from Bombardier, Cessna, Gulfstream and Raytheon–in the first half of this year shot up more than 31 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the second-quarter shipment report from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) released recently.

The report shows that OEMs delivered exactly 100 more business jets and turboprops in the first six months of this year than in the same time last year–87 more jets and 13 more propjets. The 325 jets shipped from January through June reflected a 36.6-percent increase over the 238 delivered during last year’s first half, and the 96 business turboprops delivered represented 15.6 percent more than the 83 that entered service during the same period last year.

Cessna reported the largest increase– 74 percent–followed by 44 percent for Bombardier, 31 percent for Raytheon Aircraft (jets and King Airs combined) and 11 percent for Gulfstream. The number of deliveries improved for most of the eight models of the Citation; delivery figures increased for all models but the CJ2, Bravo and X. The three newest Citations–the CJ3, Sovereign and XLS–accounted for 71 deliveries.

The company said it had booked orders for 158 Citations so far this year and had firm orders for about 250 Citations so far for next year. Cessna plans to deliver 240 Citations this year (some 60 more than last year) and 270 to 290 next year, a major improvement over the last two years, but still below the 306 and 305 it shipped in 2001 and 2002, respectively.

During the first half of this year, the Challenger 300 and 604 dominated Bombardier’s deliveries–25 and 18, respectively (compared with 13 of each in the first half of last year). The 45XR was the best seller among the Learjets. The delivery of 10 examples of the new Global 5000 helped the company’s figures too. However, Global Express deliveries slipped from 12 to four first half over first half.

Raytheon Aircraft delivered 48 business jets and 41 King Airs in the first half of this year compared with 41 jets and 27 King Airs during the same period last year. The increase in jet shipments was the result of Hawker 400XP; deliveries of the Premier I and Hawker 800XP decreased.

Bookings for Raytheon jets in the second half of this year were considerably lower than last year (58 versus 98), but a company spokesperson pointed out that the figures for last year include block sales of Hawkers to NetJets. Starting this year and through 2007, NetJets will take delivery of 20 Hawker 800XPs and 20 Hawker 400XPs it ordered in June last year. The two companies are expected to conclude a pending deal for 50 Hawker Horizons this year.

Raytheon Forecasts150 Jet Deliveries

Raytheon Aircraft is well on its way to exceeding the 115 jets it delivered last year. “Halfway through the year we have the best book-to-bill in six years; we are 80 percent sold out this year and nearly 30 percent sold out for next year already, and that’s without any new fractional orders,” said Raytheon Aircraft chairman and CEO Jim Schuster. Raytheon is forecasting it will ship a record 150 jets this year.

Raytheon said the Horizon flight-test program is 90-percent complete, the ground test program 100-percent complete and supplier hardware qualification 95-percent done. When the jet received partial certification last December, the company projected full certification by the third quarter. But, referring to a delay by “a major avionics supplier” (Honeywell for its Primus Epic system), it said final certification is now expected in the fourth quarter. Raytheon and Honeywell declined to identify the nature of the problem.

When Raytheon first announced the Horizon at the 1996 NBAA Convention, the company said the aircraft would receive full certification in 2001.

After a two-year hiatus, Airbus has returned to providing delivery figures. GAMA reported 15 ACJ deliveries between 1999 and 2002. At the end of last year, Airbus claimed it had delivered 30 ACJ versions of the A319, A320 and A321. The GAMA report shows four deliveries in the first half of this year.

For the second consecutive quarter Boeing delivered no BBJs. At the end of the first quarter of this year, a company spokesperson commenting on the lack of deliveries told AIN, “This is largely due to the timing of orders and the production positions available.” Boeing said at the Paris Air Show in June that it was approaching the 100-order mark and, more recently, that “we will have quite a few BBJs delivered in the next 18 months.”

OEMs that reported fewer turbine deliveries in the first half were Dassault (Falcons), Piaggio (Avantis), Piper (Meridians) and Socata (TBM 700s). Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne, on the eve of the Paris Air Show, said Falcon deliveries will reach between 50 and 55 this year, short of the 63 Falcons delivered last year.

Good economic times mean more aircraft orders and consequent backlogs, a boon for manufacturers but the bane of cust- omers. Responding to an increasing number of business jet orders and lengthening backlogs, Cessna, Gulfstream and Raytheon are ratcheting up production.

In the case of Gulfstream Aerospace, Nicholas Chabraja, chairman and CEO of parent company General Dynamics, conceded, “We have customers who are complaining that we can’t get them an aircraft to enter into service within a reasonable time.” What is a reasonable time? “Industry custom is about 18 months,” according to Chabraja. “We are now [beyond] 24 months, so we have no reasonable alternative but to step up production.”

Next year’s production is intended to be somewhat higher than this year’s, and “we are about half sold for next year’s production,” he said. The company delivered 41 (green) Gulfstreams in the first half of this year compared with 37 during the same period last year. Last year Gulfstream delivered 78 airplanes.

Commenting on first-half results, GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce said, “We are seeing the influence of industry innovation, a continued healthy economy and the effects of accelerated depreciation. All segments of the industry are pointing up, which is generating optimism for a continuation of the industry’s recovery.”

Bunce added, “More corporations are taking advantage of the efficiencies of private travel in business turbine aircraft and we are seeing a similar trend in the piston market where company employees are choosing to fly themselves to their business destination.”