What was 2018’s bestselling private jet?

At PrivateFly, we offer on-demand charter of private aircraft, matching our clients with the best aircraft for their itinerary and their requirements.

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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.

Challenger 350 & Citation Latitude

The Challenger 350 & Citation Latitude were the two top jets in 2018, based on new deliveries. Images: Bombardier/Textron

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 new owner’s hands (rather than the point of order), this is a key measure of market success.

Here’s a rundown on some key delivery stats for 2018.

Aircraft deliveries up overall

It was a very positive year overall, with total deliveries up by 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.

A strong year for turboprops

In volume terms, lower cost turboprops always make up the majority of new aircraft deliveries, but 2018 was a particularly strong year, with 601 new deliveries overall – an increase of 5.2% on 2017. The lighter end of general aviation was strong overall, with piston deliveries also up (by more than 5%).

Textron was the top manufacturer – led by the Latitude

Textron won the overall OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) crown, with 188 jets delivered, with its Citation family of aircraft showing real strength.

The Citation Latitude led this growth, with an impressive 57 new Latitudes entering the market – making it the most-delivered midsize jet last year and putting it second only to the Challenger 350 across all models.

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.

HondaJet topped the Very Light Jets

It may have had one of the longest journeys to certification in recent years, but the HondaJet is now really starting to make its presence felt. The innovative VLJ was the most delivered 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.

Hondajet at Farnborough Airport with PF carpet 1279x516

There are still a relatively small number of HondaJets available for charter, but 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).

The Challenger 350 was the top business jet overall

Individually the super-midsize Challenger 350, manufactured by Bombardier, was the most-delivered business jet model again with 60 deliveries (up from 56 in 2017), closely followed by the Citation Latitude at number two with 57, and then Embraer’s Phenom 300 with 53.

Challenger 350 interior

The super midsize Challenger 350 offers a winning combination of low operating costs and a spacious cabin. Image: Bombardier.

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’s increasing popularity is thanks to its low operating costs, best in class performance, and sleek and spacious cabin. Find out more about the Challenger 350.

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 focussed 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.

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