Business aviation industry watchers expect 2018 to be a “reset year,” with business aircraft deliveries generally expected to be flat compared with 2017’s, with an upward growth track projected to begin in 2019. This is reflected across the board in the market forecasts from JetNet iQ, Teal Group, Bombardier, Embraer, Honeywell, and others.
“The manufacturers appear to be planning for flat industry deliveries in 2018 with new model introductions—Cessna Citation Longitude, Gulfstream G500 and Bombardier Global 7000—offsetting declines in certain older legacy products,” noted UBS Global Research. Thus, it expects Bombardier Business Aircraft, Gulfstream, and Textron Aviation to see higher deliveries this year and fewer at Dassault and Embraer Executive Jets.
According to JetNet iQ, business jet deliveries were expected to land at 653 units in 2017, rising to 662 in 2018. However, these numbers include 10 Cirrus SF50 Vision personal jets for 2017, and 41 for 2018, meaning traditional business jet deliveries will be down by 22 in 2018. On the turboprop side, the aviation information firm is calling for 337 shipments this year, down from the projected 361 last year.
Beyond the delivery numbers, optimism continues to rise in the industry. The latest UBS business jet market index was 53, 10 percent higher than its prior survey and back to its post-U.S. election high. An index ranked at over 50 denotes an improving market.
In addition, preliminary results of JetNet IQ’s fourth-quarter global business aviation survey indicates that 53 percent of respondents believe that the business aviation industry is now past the low point, with 27 percent declaring the market is at the low point and only 19 percent saying it has yet to reach the low point.
Underpinning this optimism is the strengthening economy in the U.S., the largest business aviation market, as well as in Europe and other regions. Also giving an extra jolt to the U.S. business aviation market is expected tax reform, which many in the industry believe will spur more business aircraft sales—both new and preowned—in 2018 and beyond.