The latest Private Jet Buying Trends

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) recently released its annual report showing the new private jet and general aviation aircraft that were delivered to owners in 2015. So which aircraft are new owners buying and why?

This report is always something we find fascinating. It’s the top of the supply chain for the charter industry, and a snapshot of the current buying trends for different aircraft categories, models and manufacturers.

private jet lineup

Delivery is the final handover between manufacturer and owner. Shipment of a new aircraft can take place months – or even years – down the line from placing an order, as the order book for a private jet is often opened during the early stages of its conception, and some can create a long waiting list. Find out more: The stages of development of a new private jet.

But what were the key trends coming out of this year’s report?

Overall deliveries were down

Total deliveries of new fixed wing aircraft in 2015 were 2,267, down 4% on the 2014 total of 2,376 aircraft. The report looks across all general aviation categories including, jets and turboprop aircraft.

Are buyers playing a waiting game?

Although a new private jet is always a status symbol for success, it may be that ‘new’ loses some of its appeal if there isn’t an exciting enough aircraft to buy. With several high-profile programmes seeing delays in development, it could be that aircraft owners are biding their time for the next big thing in private jets.

One suggestion of this is Dassault’s performance last year, where they shipped 55 new aircraft compared to 66 in 2014 and 77 in 2013. This could be  a sign of Dassault buyers waiting for the Falcon 8X and the delayed Falcon 5X to be launched.

The Dassault Falcon 5X is awaiting certification in the US and Europe (image: Dassault Aviation)

The Dassault Falcon 5X is awaiting certification in the US and Europe (image: Dassault Aviation)

Business jets demand is increasing, especially in the US

Business jets fared best with a slight increase overall. Looking at regions where new aircraft were delivered to, the USA took a growing majority compared to previous years. This is also the first time since 2008 that the US has fared better than the rest of the world combined, with 63% of all new aircraft last year going to North American buyers. Europe declined slightly in its proportion of new aircraft orders, moving from 16% in 2014, to 11.3% last year.

“The business jet sector is solid and mature,” says GAMA president and chief executive Peter Bunce. “Most of the demand is coming from the US market where the strong economy is triggering a return of corporate buyers and high-net-worth individuals.”

Which aircraft was top of the Turboprops?

As a category, turboprop deliveries fell slightly to 557 new aircraft last year. But notable aircraft in this category had a strong result, including Textron’s Beechcraft King Air 350; Piaggio delivering three new P180 Avanti; and continued growing demand for the Pilatus PC-12, with 70 new models delivered last year.

Pilatus PC-12 private jet aircraft

The Pilatus PC-12 is growing in popularity with 70 new aircraft deliveries.

The austerity factor – try before you buy?

The figures suggest that economic factors are still dampening the appetite for buying new business jets at the top of the supply chain. Greater accessibility to the on-demand charter segment is also playing a part by switching some buyers across to hire, not buy.

Improvements in booking processes, easier and faster access to a global charter fleet and relative affordability means that some private owners and corporate flight departments are choosing to fly in other people’s aircraft as opposed to (or before) upgrading or buying their own.

The Oil & Gas effect

The performance of energy companies has been seen as a factor in decreasing the overall aircraft demand. As purchasers of jets, plummeting oil and gas revenues has influenced those companies buying new aircraft to add to their owned-fleets. This impact can be seen most obviously in helicopters, which have seen the biggest impact of the falling profits of energy companies.

Oil & Gas also plays a role in make private jet pricing of course, where the cost of jet fuel is a key component in the overall charter price. How do falling fuel prices affect private jet charter pricing?

Energy sector Oil & Gas flights

Embraer’s Phenom 300 is the most-delivered jet (again)

Embraer’s most successful private jet was the most-delivered aircraft for the third year running. Embraer’s most successful aircraft continues to roll out around the world, with 70 new aircraft being delivered to their owners last year.

To date, there are now 320 Phenom 300s operating in 28 countries and it is a very popular charter aircraft with PrivateFly’s customers due to a winning combination of low operating costs, comfort and cabin space.  Embraer overall grew its market share as a manufacturer, growing 17% last year and delivering 120 new aircraft in total.

Notable newcomers

HondaJet deliveries in 2015

The HondaJet made the delivery list for the first time (image: Honda Aircraft company)

The long-awaited HondaJet contributed to the delivery numbers for the first time, with the first two owners getting their new aircraft in December 2015. The Honda Aircraft company finally celebrated final FAA certification last year, and it will be very interesting to see how this number grows in the report next year.

Another new light jet coming into the market was the Eclipse 550 aircraft with seven orders. Cessna also saw the Citation Latitude making the list for the first time, with sixteen of the midsize jets being shipped to owners last year.

If you want to try before you buy or need a private jet quote for any global trip, contact us or call our Flight team experts on +44 (0) 1747 642 777 (24 hrs)