Airclaims Sees Revival of Bizjet Sales Coming Slowly

 - September 12, 2013, 9:50 AM

Deliveries of new business jets worldwide this year are likely to stay at the same level as last year, Boris Bychkov, CEO of Airclaims CIS, said yesterday in Moscow, where he spoke at the Business Aviation Forum 2013. Airclaims, a provider of aviation consulting, information and other aviation-related services, counted only 674 business aircraft delivered last year, compared with 1,290 in 2008, just before the global financial crisis hit. Russian event-organizer ATO Events held the meeting ahead of this week’s JetExpo show.

Despite some signs of improvement, worldwide deliveries have been running below an annual average of about 800 to 810 units for the past 10 years. However, with only 100 to 130 old aircraft retiring each year, the world’s business aviation fleet grows steadily, Bychkov said.

North America continues to lead the world in business aviation, with 48 percent new business aircraft delivered, but its world share dropped from 60 percent in 2007 to 48 percent now, due to faster-growing emerging markets in Asia and elsewhere. Together with Europe, another mature market, the combined share of these two largest business aircraft markets now stands at 70 percent, down from 90 percent 10 years ago.

Buyers in Brazil, enjoying a favorable environment to business aviation, acquired some 800 aircraft between 2007 and 2013. Compare this to China’s 210 new business aircraft delivered in the same time frame, but the PRC intake was largely of the premium segment and heavy jets.

After a good beginning, rising from zero deliveries in 2003 to 20 percent of all world deliveries in 2008, very light jets have been in decline since, with their share of the market dropping to 13 percent in 2012. At the same time, the big business jets, with deliveries more or less flat from 2003 to 2008, are now on the rise again, with 25-percent share.

Airclaims sees signs of a North American market revival, where fleet replacement is expected. The advent of next-generation business aircraft, with a total of 20 new models, will stimulate the demand for replacement aircraft. These new models feature lower noise levels, longer ranges, decreased fuel burn and other advancements. Airclaims believes that the rate of new aircraft deliveries will reach 1,000 to 1,100 units annually in the 2020-2021 time frame.

Although Bychkov did not provide a separate assessment of the Russian business aircraft market (as it was included in the European segment in his data), a number of other Business Aviation Forum speakers shared the view that the demand for large business jets in Russia seems to have stabilized and demand will soon shift to replacement aircraft.

Meanwhile, small- and medium-size aircraft do not sell well in the Russian market, but some experts believe that, if the Kremlin continues to make reforms that create a friendlier environment for business and general aviation, then sales of the lower segments of business aircraft and even entry-level airplanes will see substantial growth.

In a few segments even “explosions” in sales could be expected, according to some speakers.