Although the downturn in the economy has dampened the near-term prospects for the general aviation industry, demand for business aviation will expand over the long term, according to the most recent forecast from the FAA, which anticipates a growing U.S. and world economy.
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The market for very light jets (VLJs) is set to dip significantly as recession sweeps across western economies, according to PMI Media’s latest study, The Very Light Jet Market 2008-17: The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis. Some 4,610 VLJs worth $9.54 billion (2008 $) will be delivered during this 10-year period, PMI says.
Economic conditions in major Western countries are not looking good. To
what extent is this impacting business aviation activity in markets such as the U.S. and Europe?
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so optimistic about the Asian business aviation market, especially in North Asia and China,” Jason Liao, Hawker Beechcraft’s regional vice president for China and Southeast Asia, told AIN.
Three separate forecasts released last month indicate a steady increase in demand for and deliveries of business jets over the next two decades.
A major expansion of business aircraft facilities at the Monterey (Calif.) Peninsula Airport (MRY) is under way, thanks to growing airport congestion in the San Francisco Bay Area and MRY’s reputation for world-class golf courses.
After low-cost carriers, business aviation now ranks number two in Eurocontrol’s latest traffic statistics. “Not long ago, business aviation was not even on the radar screen of the agency and other decision makers,” European Business Aviation Association chief executive Eric Mandemaker told attendees at the general and business aviation annual forum held at the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation in Brussels recently.
According to Eurocontrol, by 2010, European operators will have ordered some 500 very light jets (VLJs) and about 300 of these will have been delivered by then, with most of them being destined for air-taxi services.
London City Airport will hold the official opening of its new business aviation center on May 31. The facility includes a dedicated 38,000-sq-ft ramp for business aircraft, which have previously found it hard to park at the airport, located six miles east of the UK capital’s financial district and just two miles from the Docklands business district. Until last December, business aircraft handling was contracted to Signature Flight Support.
While the FAA is calling for “significant” continued growth “over time” for commercial aviation, it sees “strong growth in business aviation demand continuing, driven by a growing U.S. and world economy as well as a growing fleet of very light jets (VLJs).”