At the J.P. Morgan Aviation, Transportation and Industrials Conference yesterday, leaders from Bombardier, Cessna and Embraer provided summaries of their companies’ standing. Following are some “takeaways” from the event. “Bombardier: The switch to the Learjet 70/75 and Challenger 350 should help Bombardier shore up business jet pricing. Bombardier completed high-speed taxi testing on the Learjet 85, so first flight is very close. The advantage of composites here is primarily lower costs with fewer parts.
There is a new entrant in the (slow) race to bring a supersonic business jet to market, Spike Aerospace. Headquartered in Boston, Spike Aerospace was founded by engineers and consultants with experience working at Airbus, Boeing, Eclipse, Gulfstream, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA. The Spike S-512 is targeting a Mach 1.6 cruise speed and Mach 1.8 maximum speed.
Demand for private charter flights looks set to rise this month, according to the demand index generated by online charter portal Avinode. The outlook is brightest for the European market.
Every year since the start of the great economic downturn of 2008, the business aviation industry has watched business jet deliveries dwindle and searched for signs that the market might have finally hit bottom. The downward slide was finally arrested last year, according to year-end numbers released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. For the first time since 2008, worldwide deliveries of business jets were higher than the previous year, with manufacturers handing over 678 jets last year, six aircraft (1 percent) more than in 2012.
Bombardier’s Learjet 85 program is moving toward first flight (if it hasn’t already happened after this issue went to press), but the company’s plans to achieve certification and begin customer deliveries this year appear to be unachievable.
Embraer delivered 119 executive jets worth $1.64 billion last year–up by 26 percent on 2012’s $1.29 billion–and nearly half of them (53) were handed over in the fourth quarter. The whole-year deliveries broke down as 90 light jets (60 Phenom 300s and 30 Phenom 100s) and 29 large jets (21 Legacy 600/650s and eight Lineage 1000/shuttles), and in the fourth quarter the tally was 38 light jets and 15 large jets.
Charter group Falcon Aviation Services today signed a letter of intent to buy a Bombardier CS300 aircraft, with an option for a second. The $156.5 million deal, which was announced on the second day of this week’s Air Expo show in Abu Dhabi, takes the total number of orders and commitments for the CSeries jet to 447, of which 201 are firm orders.
FlightSafety International (FSI) received approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for its Embraer Legacy 500 maintenance training program on February 21. Embraer Executive Jets factory and authorized service center personnel are already receiving training on the under-development Legacy 500, and FSI will begin providing training services to operators of the new jet immediately following its certification.
The third annual Abu Dhabi Air Expo, which opened today at Al Bateen Executive Airport, has become a prominent fixture of the Arabian Gulf general aviation sector, with about 13,000 visitors and 170 exhibiting companies at this year’s event. Air Expo is sponsored by Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Abu Dhabi Aviation and the UAE Ministry of Transport.
Bombardier Business Aircraft has two aircraft on display at Abu Dhabi Air Expo, both flying the colors of owners from the Gulf region. One is a Challenger 605, managed by Sharjah’s Gulf Wings and being shown on behalf of an unidentified Kuwaiti owner.
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