For the fourth consecutive year readers gave Gulfstream the highest marks for both newer business jets (less than 10 years old) and older business jets (10 years or older) in the 2006 Product Support Survey conducted by Aviation International News. In addition, readers placed OEM customer service of GIIs, GIIIs and the Westwind/Astra series– now supported by Gulfstream sibling General Dynamics Aviation Services (GDAS)–in second place behind Gulfstream for support of its older GIVs and GVs.
Boeing, which appears in the survey for the first time, dislodged Raytheon (for its Hawker 400XP and Beech Premier support) for a second-place finish among newer business jet manufacturers. Boeing also edged out Cessna for second place in the overall rating for combined scores (where appropriate) of both newer and older business jets.
Cessna retained its third-place standing among newer business jets but dropped from second to third position among older business jets, behind new entry GDAS.
Dassault logged the biggest percentage increase in the overall average among newer business jet OEMs, but the French manufacturer did not move up the ratings ladder and retained its fourth-place position. The higher overall average ratings it received, combined with lower overall ratings by some of the other OEMs, also kept Dassault in fifth place (behind GDAS) in the combined newer and older overall average ratings.
Raytheon had mixed–and perhaps the most surprising–results. In the category of newer business jets, the company’s overall average rating for support of Beechjets, Hawker 400XPs and Premiers decreased from last year’s survey, helping to pull down the manufacturer’s product support standing from second among newer business jets last year to fifth position this year–behind Dassault and ahead of its own support for the Hawker 800/850/1000 series.
The overall rating for customer support of older Diamonds and Beechjets landed Raytheon in the fourth position, tied with Dassault, for support of older business jets. But Raytheon slipped from third to seventh among the combined newer and older aircraft ratings–again partly due to the higher ratings of new entries Boeing and GDAS.
Embraer also dropped a couple of positions–from sixth last year to eighth this year among the newer business jets (despite an overall rating improvement), and from fourth to sixth compared to the combined overall scores of manufacturers that support both newer and older airplanes.
Bombardier was the only other jet OEM to have an overall score this year that decreased from last year among manufacturers of newer business jets. This contributed to Bombardier’s remaining at the bottom of the product support ratings for newer business jets. What’s more, Bombardier slipped from fifth to seventh place for its overall support of older Challengers.
If not for new entry Sabreliner, Bombardier would have retained its last-place position when comparing the scores of combined newer and older business jets. Sabreliner received the lowest overall rating among all business jet OEMs.
In the older turboprop category, Mitsubishi retained its lead position for support of the MU-2, and Pilatus still held the number-one position among newer propjets and the number-two slot for ratings of combined newer and older airplanes for its support of the PC-12.
Cessna got edged out again–this time from third to fourth place in the older turboprop segment and from fourth to fifth place in the combined newer and older segment–partly because of its decreased overall score and partly because of the higher score of new entry Twin Commander Aircraft.
As it has in past surveys, Piper was rated last for its support of Cheyennes. However, the company’s score improved by more than 25 percent year over year.