The FAA is predicting strong business jet market growth over the next two decades, but the agency’s forecast released yesterday provides a less optimistic outlook for the piston fleet. The agency forecast the active business jet fleet will increase at an average of 2.8 percent per year, reaching 20,815 aircraft by 2035. Including rotorcraft and turboprops, the fleet is expected to grow at an average rate of of 2.4 percent a year, reaching 45,905 by 2035. Overall, the general aviation fleet is expected to increase by a more modest 0.4 percent year, totaling 214,260 by the end of the forecast period. The more muted overall results reflect an anticipated average 0.5 percent annual decline in the piston fleet (both fixed-wing and helicopters). The agency noted that the business jet market recorded its first notable increase in shipments since 2008 last year, and higher corporate profits along with worldwide GDP growth will propel the market in the long run.
Also, the FAA believes that business use of all general aviation aircraft will increase at a faster pace than recreational or personal use. “Industry experts and prior year’s survey results report a significant portion of piston aircraft hours are also used for business purposes,” the agency said.
Turbine aircraft hours are forecast to increase 2.9 percent a year, but piston aircraft hours are expected to drop 0.3 percent annually on average. Overall, general aviation hours are expected to increase by 1.4 percent a year, with the faster growth coming after 2023.