Cooling demand from the recently buoyant Chinese market for business jets is set to result in weaker overall sales for 2012, Gulfstream Aerospace president Larry Flynn said this week at Jet Expo in Moscow. The U.S. manufacturer has seen a dip in new orders from China this year in a reversal of last year’s market conditions in which Flynn said, “Overheated orders from China drove our 2011 sales well ahead of plan.”
As a result of this market shift, Gulfstream expects green aircraft deliveries to be about the same this year as last year, but with fewer new sales. “The number of people wanting and expecting to buy an airplane is about the same as for the last 12 months, but due to the uncertainties that the global economy faces, transactions take a bit longer,” Flynn added.
During the first half of this year, Gulfstream delivered 54 new aircraft, compared with 47 in the same period last year. For the whole of this year, it expects to deliver 110 aircraft, compared with 107 in 2011, representing a sustained increase from the 75 deliveries achieved in 2010 and 2009.
The Gulfstream president told journalists at Jet Expo that, compared to China’s, the Russian business aviation market has been more stable since the company achieved its first sale there in 2002. “Sales really took off here starting in 2007,” said Flynn. “We still have a very good backlog of airplanes to be delivered to Russia.” The local Gulfstream fleet rose from eight jets in 2007 to 38 in 2011–including 29 large-cabin aircraft, such as the G450 and G550–and 48 in 2012 (36 of which are large-cabin models). These numbers are expected to rise further once G650 deliveries to Russian clients begin early next year.
Gulfstream said it is on track to open its first factory-owned service center in China before year-end. The facility at Beijing Capital International Airport will support some 40 Gulfstream jets now based in China.