Honeywell forecast shows increase in business jet demand

Used jets forecast to increase 12 percent; manufacturers say orders rising

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(PHOTO: Dassault)

Honeywell’s 30th annual Global Business Aviation Outlook forecasts up to 7,400 new business jet deliveries worth $238 billion from 2022 to 2031, up 1 percent in deliveries from the same 10-year forecast a year ago. In 2021, surveyed business jet operators reported a sharp increase in used jet purchase plans, 12 percent above last year’s report, equivalent to 800 additional used business aircraft. Business aircraft manufacturers also announced a strong increase in jet orders, indicating that the industry has almost completely shaken off the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The increased demand for used jets is estimated at more than 6,500 units over the next five years, putting pressure on an already record low inventory and driving additional demand for new jets,” said Heath Patrick, president, Americas Aftermarket, Honeywell Aerospace. “Our latest operator survey results support continued private jet usage growth, as more than 65 percent of respondents anticipate increased business jet usage in 2022. Despite the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic, flight hours have recovered and grown beyond pre-pandemic levels. The overall health of the business jet market is strong, and growth is expected to continue.”

Operators like VistaJet are offering more services like special programmes for customers who fly with pets. (PHOTO: VIstaJet)

Key findings in the 2021 Honeywell Global Business Aviation Outlook include:

  • Purchase plans for used jets show an increase in this year’s survey. Operators worldwide indicated that 28 percent of their fleet is expected to be replaced or expanded by used jets over the next five years, up 3 percentage points compared with survey results from 2020. Business jet deliveries in 2022 are expected to be up 10 percent from 2021 in terms of units billed.
  • The longer-range forecast through 2031 projects a 3 percent average annual growth rate of deliveries in line with expected worldwide long-term economic growth.
  • Five-year purchase plans for new business jets are down 2 percentage points compared with last year’s survey. This can be attributed to uncertainty around the COVID-19 Delta variant at the time of the survey. The decrease is driven by fewer replacements in the fifth year; however, fleet additions grew by 1 percentage point.
  • The sharp increase in demand for used jets, coupled with a lower-than-ever inventory of used aircraft available for sale, will inevitably drive additional demand for new-build business jets. Among those with purchase plans of new business jets over the next five years, 29 percent of purchases are expected to occur in the next two years. This is just 1 percentage point lower than last year’s survey.
  • Operators plan to make new jet purchases equivalent to about 14 percent of their fleets over the next five years as replacements or additions to their current fleet.
  • Larger-cabin, heavy aircraft classes are expected to account for more than 72 percent of all expenditures of new business jets in the next five years.
Manufacturers like Gulfstream are also looking to launch new models. (IMAGE: Gulfstream)

Minimal ongoing COVID-19 impact in 2021:

  • Nine of 10 operators in the survey said their new or used jet buying plans have not been postponed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 100 percent of 2021 respondents said that they had not cancelled and do not plan to cancel a delivery on a new aircraft.
  • Year to date, business aviation usage trends point to a nearly 50 percent increase in flight hours in 2021 versus 2020, roughly 5 percent above 2019 (pre-COVID).
  • 65 percent of respondents globally expect to operate their business jets more frequently in 2022 versus 2021.
  • 2021 survey respondents are not signalling sales of late-model aircraft due to COVID-19. Specifically, only 4 percent of all respondents in the survey are planning to sell one or more aircraft without replacement in the next five years compared with 10 percent in last year’s survey.
  • Very few respondents (6 percent) reported that conditions for their flight departments had worsened in 2021.
Bombardier is also looking to launch new models. (PHOTO: Bombardier)

Breakdown by Region

North America – Compared with last year, five-year new aircraft acquisition plans in North America are down 3 percentage points as operators’ cool expectations for the fifth year in the survey period. This is likely driven by the uncertainty caused by the Delta variant among smaller jet operators. Used aircraft purchase plans are up 3 percentage points. New jet purchase plans in North America are down 3 percent in this year’s survey compared with last year. Over the next five years, at least 13 percent of the fleet is expected to be replaced or supplemented with a new jet purchase. About 35 percent of operators responding to the survey plan to schedule their new purchases within the first two years of the five-year horizon. This is 3 percentage points higher than in last year’s survey, and above the worldwide average of 29 percent. Purchase plans for used jets are up 4 percentage points when compared with last year’s survey and above historical averages. An estimated 63 percent of worldwide demand for new jets will come from North American operators over the next five years, down just 1 percentage point compared with last year’s survey.

Europe – European operators’ new aircraft purchase plans are down 5 percentage points year over year as the Delta variant forced governments to restrict travel across borders, creating uncertainty. Europe’s purchase expectations decreased this year to roughly 19 percent of the global fleet, down 5 percentage points compared with last year’s results. Europe’s purchase expectations had been high in the past few years as operators refreshed an aging fleet. About 23 percent of operators plan to schedule their new purchases within the next two years, in line with previous year’s results and below the worldwide average of 29 percent. Aircraft replacement and expansion plans for used aircraft in Europe are the highest globally and in recent history, equivalent to 34 percent of their fleet, up 6 percentage points versus 2020. Europe’s share of global demand over the next five years is estimated to be 16 percent, 2 percentage points lower than last year.

Latin America – Purchase plans recovered to 2019 levels, up 6 percentage points versus last year. In Latin America, 21 percent of the fleet is expected to be replaced or supplemented with new jet purchases over the next five years, up from 15 percent in last year’s survey. About 29 percent of this region’s projected purchases are planned between 2021 and 2023, on par with the worldwide average. Latin America will represent 5 percent of the total projected business jet demand over the next five years versus 3 percent in last year’s survey. The increase is likely due to a more positive economic outlook following last year’s deep pessimism in the region.

Asia Pacific – Despite ongoing geopolitical and commercial tensions, purchase plans are up. Asia Pacific operators report plans to replace at least 15 percent of their jet fleets over the next five years with new jet purchases, up from 14 percent in 2020’s survey. APAC operators also report fleet expansion intentions for the first time in three years, equating to 0.3 percent of the current fleet. Based on the expressed level of purchase plans, Asia Pacific will represent a 12 percent share of global new jet demand over the next five years. About 20 percent of respondents in Asia Pacific plan to schedule their new purchases within the first two years of the five-year horizon, compared with 30 percent a year ago.

Middle East and Africa (MEA) – The survey marked a five-year low when it comes to purchase plans in 2021. Nine percent of respondents said they will replace or add to their fleet with a new jet purchase, down from 16 percent last year. About 13 percent of operators responding to the survey plan to schedule their new purchase within the first two years of the five-year horizon, down from 46 percent a year ago. The share of projected five-year global demand attributed to MEA remains at 4 percent, in line with the historical range of 4 percent to 6 percent.

Used Jets

Plans to acquire used jets in the next five years increased by about 4 percentage points from last year’s survey. The survey showed 29 percent of used business jets will trade hands over the next five years, compared with a five-year projection of 25 percent in 2020.

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