From new Cessna Citations to new versions of Hawker Beechcrafts to clean-sheet designs like Dassault Falcon’s fly-by-wire 7X, the world of business jets continues to grow.
What’s interesting about this growth is that there still is plenty of room for a variety of market niches to be filled. Cessna, for example, is finding a strong market for its new CJ4, which will be the largest in the CJ family. Dassault Falcon’s 7X has a huge backlog and finally brings the technology of fly-by-wire flight controls into the realm of non-airliner-based business jets. Hawker Beechcraft has found even more opportunities with two new versions of the popular Hawker, a lower-range Hawker 750 with more baggage space and the new longer-range 900XP with more efficient engines.
Progress continues on more clean-sheet designs like Spectrum Aeronautical’s Independence and Freedom composite jets and Embraer’s Phenom 300, while Grob’s composite utility jet, the SPn, is on schedule for certification next year.
A new crop of very large airplanes is waiting in the wings as well, with Boeing and Airbus each vying for customers in a segment some are equating to palaces with wings. Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be the most modern of the breed, but Airbus can claim the prize for size. Its giant A380 costs $300 million not counting the price for completion, which can easily top $150 million.