GAMA: Business Jet Rally Continues in Second Quarter

Aviation International News » September 2014
September 1, 2014, 5:15 AM

Manufacturers saw a better than 12-percent jump in first-half business jet deliveries year over year, with 318 handed over during the first six months of this year, according to statistics released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Much of this increase was fueled by Cessna, which delivered 71 jets in the first half of the year, a 36.5-percent rise over the same period last year. Though the company saw decreases in most of its other models, its totals were buoyed by recent certifications of the Citation M2, Sovereign+ and X+. Deliveries of the M2 (which received EASA certification in June) began late last year, and the Wichita manufacturer handed over 19 of the CJ1 replacements in this year’s first half. Following FAA approval for the revamped Sovereign+ in December, Cessna more than tripled its output of the jet from five in the first half of last year to 16 through June of this year. The Citation X+ earned its FAA certification in late June, and Cessna delivered three before the end of the first half.

Embraer saw a nearly 20-percent rise in deliveries year over year, driven primarily by the 30 Phenom 300 light jets handed over, double the number delivered in the first half of last year. Speaking during a second-quarter earnings call, CFO José Filippo said Embraer expects to meet its goal of delivering between 105 and 120 executive jets for the year.

Ramping up its smaller-cabin offerings, Gulfstream logged deliveries of 77 aircraft total in the first six months, up from 65 in the same period last year, an increase of 18.5 percent. While the company added four large-cabin aircraft to its first-half 2013 tally, it doubled that number in the smaller-cabin sector, delivering eight more G150s/G280s in the first six months of the year than in the same period last year.

Dassault saw a 14-percent decline in deliveries during the first half of the year, delivering four fewer aircraft than in the first six months of last year. While the company handed over eight fewer Falcon 7X trijets in the first half of this year, that deficit was partially offset by deliveries of seven Falcon 2000LXSs. That aircraft was certified late last year.

Bombardier saw a modest decrease in its year-over-year tallies, attributable mainly to the cessation of Learjet 60XR production and the company’s transition from the Challenger 300 to the 350, which earned certification at the end of June. In the first six months of 2013, the Canadian maker delivered 30 of the super-midsize twinjets, but this year that first-half total dropped to 23 as the company anticipated approval of the upgraded version in June. Bombardier exceeded its 1H 2013 tally of large-cabin/long-range Globals by five, while deliveries of its new Learjet 70/75, which began late last year as a replacement for the Learjet 40XR/45XR, added seven more light jets to its year-over-year first-half total.

Among the bizliner manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus deliveries remained unchanged from last year’s first half, while Embraer, with two Lineage 1000s handed over, doubled its tally from the first half of last year.

Eclipse Aerospace, which this year began deliveries of the EA550 (an upgrade of the original Eclipse Aviation EA500), handed over nine of the new-build very light jets during the first six months.

“The business jet market is continuing its somewhat grudging recovery,” said Raymond Jaworowski, senior aerospace analyst with Forecast International. “Traditionally, demand in the business jet market is tied to growth in the economy and even more closely to corporate profits; however, in the current recovery since the downturn in ’08 and ’09 that hasn’t necessarily been the case.” While corporate profits have been fairly healthy for the most part for the past few years, uncertainty in the economy has led many businesses to hesitate in making big capital purchases, Jaworowski noted. While he acknowledged that the most recent numbers are encouraging, Jaworowski added, “We would have to see several consecutive quarters of growth to be cause for rejoicing.”

Those sentiments echo GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce’s commentary. “The encouraging numbers in the piston airplane and business jet segments drive the industry’s optimism about global general aviation growth, but deliveries of turboprops this quarter were flat,” he noted. “A great deal of work remains to make this recovery sustainable over the long term.”

Though turboprops overall showed a slight 1.4-percent decline year over year, the pressurized turboprop segment remained virtually static, with just one more aircraft delivery than in the first six months of last year. Beechcraft, which was acquired by Textron in March, saw a 12.5-percent decline in deliveries. While Piper and Pilatus saw no change in the number of Meridians and PC-12s handed over, Daher-Socata delivered an additional three aircraft in the first half of the year, based in part on the introduction of the TBM 900, a faster, more efficient upgrade of the 850, in the second quarter. The company plans to ship 50 TBM 900s this year, up from the 40 TBM 850s it delivered lastyear. Piaggio, which launched the Evo upgrade of its Avanti II turboprop twin in May at EBACE, said it will release its delivery totals at year-end.

Industry billings were up by half a billion dollars in the first half of the year, a gain of 4.5 percent over the same period last year.

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