Demand for business jets will take off again on mainland, says Gulfstream

Change of leadership on mainland will bring back certainty and boost sales, says Gulfstream

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2012, 11:01am

Business jet manufacturer Gulfstream forecasts that demand will pick up on the mainland after a slowdown in orders last year.

Scott Neal, senior vice-president of sales and marketing at Gulfstream, said new orders slowed this year because of a softening in the economy. He did not provide specific sales figures.

"I look forward to the change in leadership in China, which will bring certainty back to the economy and boost demand again," Neal said.

On Monday, Nanshan Jet, a Beijing-based corporate jet operator, agreed to buy a Gulfstream 650 from the manufacturer at the 9th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai. The listed price of the aircraft, which can fly 14 hours non-stop to New York from Beijing, is US$64.5 million.

In the first nine months of the year, 358 new corporate jets were delivered worldwide, up 2 per cent from the same period last year. New orders in the period amounted to 325, of which 219 were from Montreal-based Bombardier, boosted mainly by the 100 orders for its Challenger series by Warren Buffett's private jet company Net Jet.

Bombardier delivered 18 corporate jets to the mainland and Hong Kong last year and expected the number to increase by double digits this year, said Michael Han, Bombardier's business aircraft regional vice-president, China.

The economic slowdown had affected small-cabin business jets more than the big-cabin ones, said Han. "The super-rich on the mainland, who are more resilient to the economic downturn, prefer bigger aircraft."

As of November, there were 87 Bombardier business jets in China, a third of the total market. Gulfstream still leads the business jet market with 100 aircraft in operation in Hong Kong, the mainland and Macau.