Business jet usage to recover fully by H2 2021, says Honeywell

Publish October 7, 2020
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Nearly 7,300 new business jet deliveries worth $235 billion will be made from 2021 to 2030, down 4% in deliveries compared to the same 10-year forecast a year ago, according to a survey by global automation giant Honeywell.

Despite the dip, 4 of 5 business jet operators in the Honeywell’s 29th annual Global Business Aviation Outlook survey indicate that purchase plans have not been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Short-term reductions in both deliveries and expenditures due to the pandemic aren’t expected to have a lasting impact on the business jet industry, it stated.

“Business jet usage is expected to rebound to 80% to 85% of 2019 levels in the 4th quarter of 2020 and fully rebound by the middle of 2021, indicating demand for business jet travel is returning after the global pandemic caused a slowdown in the industry earlier this year,” said Heath Patrick, president, Americas Aftermarket, Honeywell Aerospace.

“The information we gleaned from operators shows a less than 1% decline in five-year purchase plans, so despite the short-term effects of the pandemic, we don’t expect long-term changes to purchase plans or to the overall health of the business jet market,” he noted.

Key findings in the 2020 Honeywell Global Business Aviation Outlook include:

Five-year purchase plans for new business jets are down less than one percentage point compared with last year’s survey.

Among those purchase plans of new business jets over the next five years, 30% are expected to occur in the next two years. This is 5 percentage points lower than last year’s survey, due mainly to near-term uncertainty.

Business jet deliveries in 2021 are expected to be up 13% from a COVID-impacted 2020.

Operators plan to make new jet purchases equivalent to about 16% of their fleets over the next five years as replacements or additions to their current fleet, in line with 2019 survey results.

Operators continue to focus on larger-cabin aircraft classes, from large cabin through ultralong- range aircraft, which are expected to account for more than 70% of all expenditures of new business jets in the next five years.

Honeywell said the longer-range forecast through 2030 projects a 4% to 5% average annual growth rate of deliveries in line with expected worldwide economic recovery. This figure is higher than in 2019 due in part to Covid-related declines in 2020.

Purchase plans for used jets show a moderate decline in this year’s survey. Operators worldwide indicated that 25% of their fleet is expected to be replaced or expanded by used jets over the next five years, down 6 percentage points compared with survey results from 2019, it stated.

According to the survey, 4 of 5 operators said their buying plans have not been affected by Covid-19. Most of the operators who indicated their buying plans have been affected say they now plan to hold onto their current aircraft longer.

Nearly 82% of respondents in North America expect to operate their business jets less frequently in 2020 versus 2019. Other regions are seeing similar declines. Global business jet usage is expected to recover to 2019 levels by the second half.

Survey respondents did not signal sales of late-model aircraft due to Covid-19. Specifically, only 10% of all respondents in the survey are planning to sell one or more aircraft without replacement in the next five years compared with 8% in last year’s survey.

Survey responses do not support the hypothesis that a decline in commercial travel has led to an increase in purchases of business jets. More than 95% of operators expect no change to fleet size due to a decrease in commercial travel, said the report.

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