Tough business conditions in Europe have gone on much longer than anyone here at this year’s EBACE show would have liked, but the continent’s business aviation community is putting those concerns to one side this week as it seeks to convince policy-makers of the value the sector delivers. The value of the show itself is in no doubt, with the amount of exhibit space occupied at Geneva’s PalExpo center matching last year’s record numbers and the static display having to be increased in size to accommodate 52 aircraft.
Fast-growing flight planning and support group Jetex Flight Support has forged a new alliance with Honeywell. At the EBACE show yesterday, the companies signed an agreement to jointly offer their flight-planning, aircraft datalink, flight-following and international trip support services.
Dassault is still waiting for a recovery of the U.S. business aircraft market–a market that has “no reason not to be back,” company officials said at EBACE on Monday. As are most industry executives, the Dassault officials appeared perplexed by worldwide sales trends.
“In 2013, we had a good early start in January and February but then things went disappointing,” said John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon Jet (Booth 7090). Net sales in the first quarter reached 14, a better performance than the 10 sales during last year’s first quarter.
Gulfstream Aerospace announced yesterday at EBACE that it is bolstering its sales, marketing and aircraft support presence in Europe as the Gulfstream fleet continues to expand, apparently unabated by any lingering economic uncertainty. In fact, there are now 246 Gulfstreams based in Europe–182 in Western Europe and 64 in Eastern Europe–more than double the number as recently as 2006, the U.S. aircraft manufacturer said.
Since it exited a 10-month restructuring process and Chapter 11 protection in February, the rebranded Beechcraft (formerly Hawker Beechcraft) has performed well and is even looking at possible new models to bolster its turboprop line-up.
Boeing’s recent assertion that the appetite of capital markets to fund airliner orders has increased comes as especially welcome news to manufacturers and their customers at a time when other sources of funding seem under pressure. Export credit, in particular, now comes generally at higher interest rates and with tougher equity requirements. At the same time, such government-backed capital has become a hostage to global politics, according to Kostya Zolotusky, managing director for capital markets development and leasing at Boeing Capital.
Although business has been tough for UK helicopter charter companies in recent times, Capital Air Services is in the process of increasing its managed fleet with the addition of two Sikorsky S-76++ helicopters. This will bring the S-76 fleet to three, to operate alongside a Eurocopter EC155 and a pair of EC135s.
A pair of major new suppliers for Embraer’s next-generation E-Jets identified themselves last week in a sign that program advancement continues apace despite the airframer’s reservations about communicating any details about its plans for an industrial launch or even performance specifications.
Yesterday at an EBACE press conference, Cessna CEO Scott Ernest provided progress reports on current production in its jet, turboprops and piston lines as well as on the research-and-development status of its mid-range and super-mid-range cabin jets.
“The Garmin 3000-equipped Citation M2 is right on track and, best of all, we’ve sold out production completely for the next two years,” he said. “The [new] Cessna Citation X is expected in quarter-four 2013, while the G5000-equipped Latitude should be flying by January 2014, and I expect that to be in service in 2015.”
A major restructuring at Air India has cut loss-making routes to 25 percent of its network in the fiscal year ending March 2013, down from 69 percent in the previous year. The airline attributes the improvement to a series of steps taken to cut costs, restructure loans, strengthen management and liquidate assets, including the spin-off of engineering and ground handling as independent profit centers.