The sales data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) shows unit business jet deliveries in 2017 grew slightly last year. The annual databook reported 676 new business jets sold worldwide in 2017 compared to (a revised) 667 unit sales in 2016. The increase was helped by several new models entering full service during the year. Here are some of the highlights and the sales by manufacturer.

The table below shows the unit sales by manufacturer.

    Manufacturer   2017   2016   Change
 Airbus  0  1  (1)
 Boeing  7  4 3
 Bombardier  140  163  (23)
 Cirrus  22  3  19
 Dassault  49  49  -
 Embraer  109  117  (3)
 Gulfstream  120  115  5
 Honda  43  23  20
 One Aviation  6  8  (2)
 Textron Aviation (Cessna)  180  178  2
 Total  676  667  9


The most significant model sales included the following:

Bombardier

  56 aircraft for Challenger 300/350 - super mid-size, with transcontinental U.S. range
  45 aircraft for Global 5000/6000/Express - large ultra-long range business jets

Embraer

  54 aircraft for Phenom 300 - light jet, with a range of about 2,000nm

Gulfstream

  90 aircraft for G300/350/400/450/500/550/650/650ER - large to very long range jets

Cessna

  39 aircraft for Citation M2 - light jet
  26 aircraft for Citation CJ3+ - light jet
  54 aircraft for Citation Latitude - mid-size jet 

While there was an increase in the number of new jets sold, the total market value of business jet sales was down 3.9% to $18.0bn in 2017, compared to a slightly revised $18.7bn in 2016. This reflects the mix of planes, with increasing sales of (lower price) light jets such as the Honda Jet and the new Cirrus Vision SF50, but lower unit sales of bigger mid-size and heavy jets, particularly at Bombardier.   

North America is by far the largest market for business jets at almost 63.8% of the market. Europe is next and represented about 17% of the market in 2017. Market shares in the rest of the world saw increases in Asia and dips everywhere else compared to the prior year.

In the very large sector, where Airbus and Boeing convert their commercial jets for private use, Boeing has been leading the field for the last few years. 2017 was the first year, since 2004, when Airbus hasn't sold any of its corporate jets.

GAMA reports (based on the latest FAA survey and forecast data from 2016) that the total number of active business jets in the US is 13,751 and expects this to increase to 17,345 by 2026. Of this total 1,639 are personal, 7,475 are used for business (FAR part 91), 2,093 are on part 135 charter certificates and the rest have a variety of uses. In comparison, there are 1,559 turboprops and 1,777 piston engined planes under FAR part 135.

The other highlights in the GAMA Annual Report include:

  • Worldwide new turboprop airplane shipments decreased 3.3% from 582 units in 2016 to 563 units in 2017. The estimated billings for turboprops was $1,490m, for an average of $2.65m per plane. The three biggest selling new turboprops were the Pilatus P2-12 with 85 unit sales, the Cessna Grand Caravan with 59 unit sales and the King Air 350 which sold 45 units.
  • Worldwide piston-engine airplane shipments rose 3.3% from (a revised) 1,142 units in 2016 to 1,185 units in 2017. The estimated billings for piston-engine planes was $718m, for an average of about $605k per plane.
  • According to numbers from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the number of active pilots reached 609,306 at the end of 2017. The FAA has somewhat changed the way it identifies active certificates, so the data is not directly comparable to prior years. 
  • The average hours flown by business jets was 280 hours per year (2016 numbers), whereas the average usage for turboprops was 277 hours (2016 numbers).
  • The total hours flown by all US business jets in 2016 (latest data) was 3.8 million hours. The FAA is forecasting this will increase to over 5 million hours by 2020 and over 6 million hours by 2026. In comparison the total hours flown by US turboprops stays fairly constant at 2.7 million hours over this forecast period.
  • The average age of US registered jets was 15.3 years. In comparison single engine turboprops average 13.2 years and multi-engine turboprops average 28.4 years.

The full GAMA "2017 Annual Report" is available on the GAMA website.

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