Analyst: expect demand for very light jets to slow

 - December 29, 2008, 7:33 AM

The market for very light jets (VLJs) is set to dip significantly as recession sweeps across western economies, according to PMI Media’s latest study, The Very Light Jet Market 2008-17: The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis. Some 4,610 VLJs worth $9.54 billion (2008 $) will be delivered during this 10-year period, PMI says. This is almost 23 percent down on the 5,970 deliveries the UK-based company predicted in the October 2007 edition of its VLJ market report.

PMI published the new report on December 1, after Eclipse Aviation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. PMI Media tracks the VLJ market by analyzing supplier order backlogs and purchasing trends by air-taxi, corporate and individual aircraft operators.

“Given the current difficult market circumstances it is hard to see how more than one or two new aircraft entrants–outside established aircraft manufacturers such as Embraer, Diamond, PiperJet, Cessna–will be able to survive a prolonged period of market uncertainty,” said PMI Media editorial director Philip Butterworth-Hayes.

The report forecasts annual VLJ deliveries broken down into aircraft type and geographic spread. It also lists forecast annual delivery values, based on the list prices of aircraft and compound estimated currency inflation rates. PMI gathers data on supplier backlogs and purchasing trends from aircraft manufacturers, aircraft operators, regulatory bodies and financial organizations. Analysts compare this data with other economic and market forecasts to calculate the final estimates, taking into account historic fluctuations in the aviation market.

According to PMI, air-taxi operators hold declared orders for 1,062 VLJs. “However, many of these are proving more aspirational than real.”

The new PMI study also includes an overview of current market conditions and future catalysts to growth and challenges, detailed histories of VLJ programs, technical and market information about each type and operational issues such as maintenance and training.