Eighteen months ago, the business aviation industry was happily floating in a sea of black ink. Now, a year-and-a-half later, it’s drowning in red ink. And it’s debatable whether the end of the economic recession is in sight or whether it’s a good idea to hang onto the life preservers just a little longer.
Gulfstream and Israel Aerospace Industries on October 6 rolled out the new Gulfstream G250 at IAI’s facility on Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, an event I was fortunate to attend. The G250 has its roots in the G200, which was formerly the Galaxy.
The first super-midsize Gulfstream G250 rolled out today at Israel Aerospace Industries’ facility at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. IAI is the contract manufacturer for Gulfstream’s midsize business jets, namely the in-production G150 and G200 and the in-development G250, which will replace the G200 in 2011.
Despite the recession, a significant number of new aircraft programs remain largely on track. OEMs such as Cessna, Dassault Falcon Jet, Embraer and Gulfstream all appear to be staying close to their development schedules while Hawker Beechcraft has pushed back the Premier II until 2012 (from 2010). Newcomers Honda and Spectrum appear to have suffered some minor slippage, sending the earliest deliveries of those aircraft into 2011.
This year’s 62nd National Business Aviation Association Annual Meeting & Convention (October 20 to 22) probably won’t exceed previous records, but later this month the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., will definitely bustle with exhibitors setting up booths, aircraft arriving at nearby airports and thousands of attendees gathering for a week’s worth of learning, sharing and, hopefully, selling.
The new Russian Business Aviation Association (RusBAA) has confirmed that the exceptional growth the country’s emerging business aircraft sector achieved in the past few years has been quickly rolled back to 2006 traffic levels as the global downturn has gripped the Russian economy.
Gulfstream Aerospace this morning rolled out the first wide-cabin G650 to much fanfare, and a crowd that completely filled the G650 production hangar, at its Savannah, Ga. headquarters. What made the event even more noteworthy is that the $64.5 million (2009 $) twinjet–dubbed T1 for test aircraft one–did so under the power of its own Rolls-Royce BR725 engines.
“We’ve felt a more positive vibe on business jets recently, with used inventory ticking down slightly and flight operations edging upward,” JPMorgan Equity Research aerospace analyst Joseph Nadol III said this week.
Jay Johnson, the new president and CEO of Gulfstream parent company General Dynamics, said yesterday during an investor conference that he is “encouraged right now” about the “gradually improving” business jet market. As proof, he noted that Gulfstream fleet flying hours are increasing and new order interest is improving.
International Water-Guard (IWG) of Burnaby, B.C., has delivered the first IWG-A6 water treatment units to Gulfstream Aerospace for installation in the OEM’s new G650. The IWG-A6 incorporates a new, modular design, allowing many water system product configurations to be developed from a common core.