Business jet makers continued to build on their delivery momentum from last year, while total industry billings increased by 9 percent year-over-year, according to first-quarter delivery statistics released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).
Very light jet
Embraer Executive Jets has brought five aircraft to Geneva for the EBACE show as the company continues to expand its business aviation portfolio. The ultra-large Lineage 1000E is making its show debut, sporting a new interior among other enhancements that include options for autoland and an enhanced vision system. While the midsize Legacy 500 made its EBACE debut last year, it is the first time that show-goers can see it with a fully fitted cabin interior.
The impending service entry of Embraer’s Legacy 450s and 500s is set to complete the Brazilian manufacturer’s product portfolio–a sort of bridge of options connecting the Phenom 100 and 300 light jets with the larger Legacy 650 and Lineage 1000 models. During a pre-EBACE press visit to its São José dos Campos headquarters last month AIN found Embraer’s management in a confident mood, despite the fact that the overall fortunes of the business aviation market still seem somewhat mixed.
Embraer says the slowdown in the Indian economy has done little to stop its strong business aircraft sales in the country. India is the first country from the Asia Pacific region to have a complete portfolio of Embraer aircraft, ranging from the Phenom 100 very light jet to the large-cabin Lineage 1000.
Every year since the start of the great economic downturn of 2008, the business aviation industry has watched business jet deliveries dwindle and searched for signs that the market might have finally hit bottom. The downward slide was finally arrested last year, according to year-end numbers released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. For the first time since 2008, worldwide deliveries of business jets were higher than the previous year, with manufacturers handing over 678 jets last year, six aircraft (1 percent) more than in 2012.
By all accounts, this year’s NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition was an outstanding success, bringing together the usual group of aircraft manufacturers, suppliers, operators, flight crew, mechanics, owners, buyers and anyone with an interest in the world of business aviation.
Safety advocate Robert “Bob” Barnes died in Phoenix on September 28 after suffering a stroke. Barnes was instrumental in establishing the International Association of Flight Training Professionals (IAFTP) as a way to constantly improve the quality of pilot training whether the student flew a Cessna 150, a Falcon 2000 or a Boeing 777.
Eclipse Aerospace introduced its new safety enhancement upgrade package (SEP) for earlier generations of the Eclipse single-pilot very light jet. The SEP adds significant features such as anti-skid braking, autothrottles (including under- and overspeed protections), an updated flight management system as well as an independent standby display unit with an integrated attitude heading and reference system (AHRS) to provide backup heading and attitude information.
The business jet fleet is projected to grow by 55 percent over the next 12 years–to nearly 31,000 aircraft from about 20,000 today–according to the International Bureau of Aviation’s Business Jet Asset Report 2013, released on Tuesday. Much of the new growth is expected to come from new deliveries, “Implying many business jet models have a solid future ahead of them,” the group said.
The economic slump in Europe hasn’t slowed the growth of Austria’s GlobeAir, the air taxi operator that launched operations in 2008 with a pair of Citation Mustangs. During an EBACE briefing, GlobeAir CEO Bernhard Fragner reported a profit of €200,000 ($260,000) last year and projected further positive results for 2013.
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