The Bestselling Jet of 2018

At PrivateFly, we offer on-demand private jet charter, matching our clients with the best aircraft for their trip.

And while that means our clients don’t buy an aircraft outright, the purchase of brand new aircraft by private owners is essential for the charter supply chain. Many individual owners will make their new asset available for third party charter (via an aircraft operator) when they aren’t using it.

So, new aircraft ownership fuels and shapes future charter fleet availability.

GAMA Results 2018 Collage_600x400

At this time of year, GAMA (General Aviation Manufacturers Association) reports on new aircraft deliveries in the previous year – and as the point of delivery is when the keys to a new aircraft actually enter the owner’s hands (rather than the point of order), this is a key measure of market success.

Here’s a rundown on some of the key delivery stats for 2018:

Aircraft Deliveries See Overall Increase

Overall, it was a very positive year; total deliveries were up 3.8%, based on 703 new aircraft delivered to customers – representing a total value of $20.6 billion. New demand was led by the North American market and an active phase of new product development by manufacturers.

And for the first time in five years, positive growth was seen across all aircraft categories – business jets, turboprops, pistons, and helicopters.

Turboprops on the Rise

In terms of volume, turboprops always make up the majority of new aircraft deliveries due to their relative low cost.

However, 2018 was particularly strong, with 601 new deliveries overall – a 5.2% increase from 2017. Even piston-aircraft deliveries were up – by more than 5%!

Textron as the Top Manufacturer

Textron led the pack in terms of highest number of aircraft deliveries, with its family of Citation models showing strength; the manufacturer delivered 188 aircraft last year, with its Latitude model in the lead with 57 new deliveries. As such, the Latitude is 2018’s most-delivered midsize business jet.

The sleek interior of the Citation Latitude. (Source: Textron Aviation)

The sleek interior of the Citation Latitude. (Source: Textron Aviation)

Now certified in 43 countries, it offers a winning recipe of effective operating costs, flexibility, cabin comfort (including a flat floor), and size.

At PrivateFly we have seen demand for the Latitude rise significantly in the couple of years it’s been on the charter market. And with availability now increasing further, 2019 is set to see it fly even higher.

Tour the Citation Latitude with CEO Adam Twidell:

HondaJet Representing the VLJ Category

While the HondaJet took quite a journey to get certified, now that it’s on the market it has commanded quite a presence. The innovative Very Light Jet (VLJ) was the most delivered aircraft of its type in 2018, with a total of 37 new aircraft delivered.

This is the second year it’s been the most delivered VLJ, and demonstrates the strong proposition that Honda have created at this critical entry-level end of the market.

The 2 New HondaJets

Still, there are a relatively small number of HondaJets available for charter in Europe, and even less so in the US; with these latest deliveries now made and a strong order book following up behind, it is set to be one of the most popular small jets in the charter market in the next few years – especially with the gap that will open up as the dominant charter fleet of Citation Mustangs begin to age (Textron are no longer producing the Mustang).

Continued Dominance of the Challenger 350

The Bombardier super-midsize aircraft was the most-delivered business jet again with 60 deliveries in 2018 (up from 56 in 2017).

This is the second year at the top for the Challenger 350 (with Embraer’s Phenom 300 light jet having held the top spot for five years previously).


(Technically the tiny Cirrus Vision SF50 personal jet did top the overall ‘jet’ category with 63 deliveries, but this single-engine jet is really in a category of its own, aimed squarely at owner fliers, the majority of whom are in the US, rather than the wider global jet market).

The Challenger 350 is a super-midsize jet, seating up to nine passengers. Its increasing popularity is thanks to its low operating costs and best in class performance, with a sleek and spacious cabin.

Speculation About Ultra-long Range Jets

At the largest end of the scale – the ultra long range jets – specific delivery numbers of models are not clear, as the key players do not submit individual model data in this category. But the big players are currently the Gulfstream G650 & G650ER; Bombardier’s Global 5000 & 6000; and Dassault’s Falcon 7X & 8X.

Gulfstream reported 92 deliveries in 2018 for their whole business jet group – encompassing the G450/G500/G550/G650/G650ER.

Looking ahead to this year, rival Bombardier is focused on rolling out deliveries of its Global 7500 – which was certified at the end of the year. It is set to deliver between 15 and 20 aircraft in 2019 and a further 35 – 40 in 2020.

To compare prices on different types of charter aircraft, contact us online or call our expert team 24/7 at (866) 726-1222.