EBACE Convention News

European bizjet registries reach an all-time high

 - November 29, 2006, 9:46 AM

Europe’s business jet fleet has enjoyed double-digit growth over the past year, according to the latest statistics from UK-based aviation data group Airclaims. Tracking jets registered in 38 European countries, the figures show 1,407 aircraft as of last December 31–a 12-percent increase on the tally of 1,260 at the end of 2004. There are now 66 percent more bizjets registered in Europe than a decade ago at the end of 1995, when there were just 848.

Over the past 10 years, Europe’s business jet fleet has seen annual increases of between 1 and 8 percent, so the growth achieved during 2005 represents an historic increase. Estimates of the number of business turboprops in Europe vary from around 900 to just over 1,000.

The Airclaims figures do not include jets registered outside Europe (in locations such as the U.S., Bermuda and the Cayman Islands). With European authorities, such as the UK Department for Transport, considering tightening rules on these offshore registrations, future statistics might show even more significant increases as operators that keep their aircraft in Europe most of the time are obliged to register them there too.

Germany has retained its position as Europe’s largest national business jet fleet, with 248 aircraft registered at the end of 2005–an increase of just over 7 percent on the 2004 total. The UK total increased by a similar rate to 183 jets, enough to keep it in second place, and Switzerland continues in third place with 124 jets.

Similarly, Italy has retained fourth position with a virtually static national jet fleet of 113–sharing this ranking with Austria. Portugal, with 106 jets, has moved up into the sixth slot as home to the growing fractional ownership fleet of NetJets Europe. It has supplanted the French fleet, which has slipped down to seventh position with 94 jets (a 6-percent dip on the 100 it had registered at the end of 2004).

The Airclaims data–published exclusively by EBACE Convention News–show that expectations that business aviation will take hold in Russia appear to be materializing. There are now 35 private jets registered in the former communist state–a 40-percent increase on the 2004 total and a more than 200-percent boost from the 11 registered in 1995. Spain has achieved a 15-percent increase in its jet fleet, which last year grew from 60 to 69 aircraft.

The spread of business jet market share is almost unchanged from 2004, with five manufacturers continuing to dominate the fleet. Cessna maintained its leadership with 40 percent of all jets registered in Europe–more than Bombardier (18 percent) and Dassault (20 percent) combined.

With deliveries of new jet models such as the Hawker 400XP, Raytheon has managed to recover some market share lost in recent years, increasing its portion of the European fleet from 11 percent at the end of 2004 to 13 percent at the close of last year. Gulfstream holds a 5-percent market share.

This left just 4 percent of the market to the other bizjet airframers (down from 6 percent in 2004). However, this trend masks increasing numbers of aircraft such as the Embraer Legacy, the Airbus Corporate Jetliner and the Boeing Business Jet and the continued decline of vintage models such as the Lockheed JetStar, the Aerospatiale Corvette and the Sabreliner.

Deliveries of new aircraft to replace some of the old models meant that the European business jet fleet got younger during 2005. The average age of the fleet fell by a full 12 months, from 12 years two months to 11 years, two months.

Countries with younger than average jet fleets included Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland and the UK. Those with older than average fleets include France, Italy, Russia and Spain.