EBACE Convention News

Analysts Predict Slow Rebound For Europe

 - May 19, 2014, 1:00 AM

Business aircraft manufacturers here at EBACE this week will be hoping to disprove suggestions that demand for new airplanes in Europe from current (or prospective) operators will decline. While Bombardier Aerospace foresees the region remaining second only to North America in its long-term requirements, equipment supplier Honeywell has detected less short-term enthusiasm. Globally, both companies’ market forecasts predict delivery of almost 10,000 new business aircraft in the next 10 years.

Over the coming 20-year period, Bombardier predicts that “despite its continued economic challenges,” Europe is still the second-largest market for new business-jet deliveries behind North America. The Canadian manufacturer says European operators will receive 1,670 new aircraft during 2013-22 and an additional 2,230 units in the following 10 years, these aircraft comprising some 16.25 percent of the 24,000 units forecast in the market sectors served by Bombardier.

Honeywell, which bases its forecast on the declared “purchase expectations” of more than 1,500 non-fractional business-aircraft operators worldwide, said that in 2013 European intentions to acquire additional or replacement aircraft were equivalent to 25 percent of their current fleets–well below “the 30- to 33-percent levels” seen in its previous three surveys. It puts the European share of estimated global five-year demand at 12 percent, down from 18 percent 12 months earlier.

The company suggests that aircraft owners might finally have responded to recession: “The resilience previously shown by European operators in the face of lackluster economic conditions may have reached the point of fatigue, with weak growth prospects expected for 2014.”

Its analysis has been influenced by reduced survey participation by Russia, which previously “has supported the region with strong local purchasing ambitions, [but like the rest of Europe] has slipped in reported purchase plans.” Honeywell notes that Russia’s “small [response] sample has added an element of volatility not present in prior surveys and may be understating the true demand.”

European operators’ planned purchases suggest “fairly even demand in the next three years,” averaging about 20 percent per year. Nevertheless, Honeywell does expect operators in Europe (excluding Russia) to fly more often this year after a slight decline and to fly to more varied destinations. “Modest growth is expected in 2014, driven in part by improved economic prospects in Western Europe, but also [by] a stronger outlook for Eastern Europe,” the report said.