Long-haul, fuel efficient jets underpin demand at Las Vegas air show

LAS VEGAS: New large corporate planes that can fly farther and an industry push toward sustainable aviation fuels are seen as bright spots as the world’s biggest business jet makers assemble in Las Vegas to showcase their offerings at the sector’s largest gathering.
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) annual corporate aircraft show kicks off on Tuesday against a backdrop of slowing global economic growth, trade tensions between the United States and China and Brexit uncertainties, factors seen softening demand for corporate jets in the next two years, industry executives and analysts say.
“We’re optimistic but at the same time, in the short and medium term we have to be cautious,” said Gaetan Handfield, senior manager of marketing analysis for Honeywell Aerospace.
Honeywell’s 2019 business aviation outlook sees 7,600 new business jet deliveries worth $248 billion from 2020 to 2029, down 1 to 2 percentage points from the company’s 2018 forecast.
Deliveries were up this year almost 13 per cent during the first half of 2019, according to data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).
Deliveries, expected to rise 7 per cent in 2020 according to Honeywell, are being fuelled by the ramp up of new models that offer longer-ranges and amenities such as beds and hot showers at 40,000 feet.
General Dynamics’ Gulfstream, Bombardier, Textron’s Cessna, Dassault Aviation and Embraer SA saw their order backlogs grow 7 per cent during the first half of 2019, the first rise since the 2008 financial crisis, said aviation analyst Rolland Vincent.
An NBAA highlight this year could be the widely-expected launch of a new long-range jet by Gulfstream, which declined comment. Buyers eager to make non-stop trips between far-flung cities like New York and Tokyo are looking for long-range jets.
Others are also prioritising fuel efficiency, and encouraging the use of sustainable fuels and carbon-offsets at a time when the aviation industry faces “flight shame” protests by climate change activists.
Jetmakers will fly their aircraft into Las Vegas using a blend of biojetfuels, although industry usage of alternatives to kerosene remains limited.
In an industry where sales are usually aligned with economic growth, analysts remains cautious given uncertainty in Europe with Brexit, and in the United States, the world’s largest market for business jets, where President Donald Trump faces an impeachment probe. — Reuters