New Study Highlights the Significance of Business Jet Industry

A new study released in April by the U.S International Trade Commission (USITC) provides an in-depth look at the performance of the business jet market over the past five years. At almost 250 pages, Business Jet Aircraft Industry: Structure and Factors Affecting Competitiveness focuses on business jets weighing less than 50,000 pounds.

How bad was it?

For most industry watchers, the results may not be surprising. The number of delivered business jets peaked in 2008 then fell off sharply from 2009 through 2011. From 2008 to 2011, business jet deliveries fell by 57 percent. The demand for very light business jets was hardest hit, with a staggering 71 percent decline in deliveries during the same three-year period.

In spite of these sobering statistics, aviation industry experts are forecasting slow, steady growth over the next few years — though nothing like the double-digit increases enjoyed in the past. The Teal Group predicts 13,879 business jets to be delivered over the next 10 years, with a measured 4 percent growth in 2012 and 6 percent in 2013.

Homegrown opportunities in manufacturing

The USITC’s report underscores the importance of sustained U.S. business jet production to both domestic and global economic recoveries. Three of the world’s six leading business jet producers are U.S. held companies: Lear, Gulfstream and Hawker Beechcraft Corporation.

Domestic aircraft producers supply much-needed jobs in manufacturing, and U.S companies are also leading the way with safety innovations and technological advances. Companies with plants in the U.S. are also a leading source of parts and systems manufacturing.

Of course, the contribution that business jets make to the U.S. economy doesn’t end with aircraft manufacturing and production. U.S. companies that rely on private business travel help stimulate the economy with increased productivity and by creating new business opportunities worldwide. Due in part to the benefits private air travel provides, these organizations earn more revenue and profits and ultimately create new domestic jobs.

As lawmakers make legislative decisions that affect U.S. business jet production companies, the study may bring some positive attention to a less-than-optimal situation. For that, there’s plenty of reason to hope that the sector will continue to improve, preferably at a faster rate.

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