Avionics News October 2016 - 24
Stable at the moment, but poised for growth
S T O R Y
S C O T T
press conference announcing a new airplane, the
Phenom 100 EV, at this year's EAA AirVenture
Oshkosh is not where one expects to find a concise
position report on the state of business aviation. But the
chief executive officer of Embraer Executive Jets, Marco
Tulio Pellegrini, provided it as he talked about the future and
evolution of the company's entry-level business jet.
"The business jet market is upside down right now," he said,
explaining that those with more seats in a stand-up cabin were
selling better than smaller, less expensive models. Why this
was, he couldn't say, "but we don't expect it to last." Looking
at the long-term big picture view, the challenges of airline transportation will motivate customers to consider business jets not
as "luxury but as transportation." But this will not happen in the
near future, he said, because the market is soft right now.
Supporting Pellegrini's observation is data compiled by the
General Aviation Manufacturers Association. During the past
five years, the production and shipment of new jets has been
essentially stable, except for Gulfstream, whose annual deliveries grew from 99 to 154 in 2014. Some manufacturers, such
as Hawker, zeroed out because Textron reordered the general
aviation marketplace with the acquisition of Beechcraft. But
new manufacturers, such as HondaJet, have filled the void
with a note of confidence for future sales of business jets. And
S P A N G L E R
Dassault Aviation recently highlighted its Falcon 7X and 8X
large-cabin long range Falcon business jets at the Jet Expo
Moscow in September. The 8X was certified in June and will
start deliveries within a few weeks, according to the company.
When addressing business aviation in general discussion,
many see it as a homogeneous community of aviators who fly
only jets. But business aviation is a mission that can employ
any kind of aircraft. In its annual survey of general aviation
aircraft owners, the Federal Aviation Administration lists 15
different primary uses for the owner's aircraft. Two of them are
business aviation, one with a paid crew, and one without. Other
missions include personal, training and agricultural application.
Combining the crew categories into a single mission, the
percentage of flight time dedicated to business depends on the
aircraft involved. According to an industry-wide study published in 2015 by eight trade associations, including the Aircraft
Electronics Association, aircraft were separated into six categories: piston-powered airplanes, turboprop airplanes, jet-powered
airplanes, helicopters, experimental and other. Using FAA data,
it divided the total flight time of each into four areas.
For jets, 76 percent of the time was flown as business
with a paid crew, and another 4 percent without a paid
crew in 2013. Personal use accounted for 8 percent. For
each aircraft category, the remainder was listed as other.