Positive business jet forecast for 2019: ‘We’re turning the corner’

A new forecast expects business jet demand to pick up starting in 2019 — lifting Wichita manufacturers Textron Aviation and Bombardier and their hundreds of local suppliers.

Honeywell’s 27th annual Global Business Aviation Outlook forecasts 7,700 new business jets valued at $251 billion to be delivered between 2019 and 2028.

“It’s good to see the forecast not going down anymore,” said Gaetan Handfield, senior manager of market strategy at Honeywell Aerospace. “The message we’re sending is that we’re turning the corner.”

The forecast, released Sunday afternoon in advance of the National Business Aviation Association Convention in Orlando, is based on surveys of 1,575 corporate flight departments around the world with more than 4,400 business aircraft.

It expects total business aircraft deliveries in 2018 to be flat to slightly lower than 2017’s 640 deliveries.

But beginning in 2019, the forecast said, deliveries will swing higher and continue at a strong pace for five years. The higher demand will be driven by a shrinking of the fleet of “young” used business jets —jets that are 10 years old or less. That fleet size is down 30 percent this year compared with last year.

“The result is pricing is . . . a bit up,” Handfield said.

Fewer used aircraft, especially ones that aren’t that old, combined with higher pricing will help increase demand for new business jets.

The entry into service of several new business jet models also will stimulate the market for sales of new jets. They include a couple of aircraft familiar to Wichita such as the Cessna Citation Longitude and Bombardier Global 7500, as well as Gulfstream G500 and Pilatus PC-24.

“We are excited about the used market and about new and innovative aircraft models that will not only drive solid growth in 2019 and 2020, but also have a significant impact on new business jet purchases in the midterm and long term,” said Bill Kircos, Honeywell Aerospace’s vice president of global marketing.

Of business aircraft operators’ planned purchases of new business jets over the forecast period, 14 percent will occur by the end of 2019, followed by 16 percent in 2020 and 24 percent in 2021.

Among the types of new business jets that will be purchased through 2028, 62 percent will be super midsize jets and larger. “It’s a trend that’s going to continue,” Handfield said.

The remainder of new jet purchases will be 10 percent midsize and 28 percent small jets.

In terms of geographic demand for new business jet purchases, 61 percent will come from North America. Europe will follow with nearly 16 percent. That’s despite slow economic growth and uncertainties about the effects of Brexit, the forecast said. Latin America will represent 12 percent of new aircraft purchases while Asia/Pacific will account for 7 percent. The Africa/Middle East region will have the lowest demand, at 4 percent, the forecast said.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark