Business jet deliveries appear to have remained flat or even dipped slightly in 2012, according to early manufacturer and analyst reports.
delivered 99 business jets in 2012 – exactly the same number as in 2011. ’s deliveries were down slightly (when comparing calendar year deliveries), and an industry analyst significantly scaled back its fourth-quarter expectations for . , meanwhile, spent the year phasing out its jet production.
Business jet deliveries began on an upswing last year, up more than 13% in the first half. But a slow third quarter, when political and economic uncertainties slowed sales significantly, reversed that trend. Manufacturers were hopeful that once the elections were over, sales would pick up and they would be able to recover by the end of the year.
Initial review of aircraft registrations did show a pickup of new aircraft before the holidays. For instance, Cessna had delivered eight Mustangs in the first two-three weeks of December, but just two in November and one in October, according to initial Aviation Week data. But fourth-quarter surges have been typical for business aircraft manufacturers.
This was particularly true with Embraer, which reported today that it delivered 53 business jets in the fourth quarter – more than half of its full-year total. The company delivered 77 Phenoms on the year, slightly below the 83 delivered in 2011, but still in line with company expectations. The Brazilian airframer shipped 22 Legacys and Lineages, a few more than the company had estimated and up from the 16 delivered in 2011.
Embraer executives had expected a stronger fourth quarter for the company. But overall, the year’s totals were flat with 2011, and company executives have said that 2013 may be just as flat. Embraer’s backlog at the end of the year inched up slightly, from $12.4 billion at the end of the third quarter to $12.5 billion. But that is down from $14.7 billion in the first quarter of 2012.
Bombardier last week also detailed its deliveries, saying it delivered 179 aircraft in 2012. This was down a little from the 182 delivered in 2011 (calendar year. Bombardier’s fiscal 2011 was shortened by a month, which provided a different comparison). Global deliveries improved by one, despite a slowdown early in 2012 to accommodate a flightdeck change.
deliveries, meanwhile, were slightly behind those of 2011 even though the company underwent a month-long strike and halted production of the Learjet 60. The company further is phasing out production of the 40/45 to accommodate the successors 70/75.
On a bright note, Bombardier ended 2012 with strong order intake, with net orders outpacing deliveries by an almost 2-1 ratio.
Cessna has not yet detailed its deliveries – that will come during’s fourth-quarter financial release on Jan. 23 – but analyst J.P.Morgan lowered its estimates for the manufacturer. J.P.Morgan had forecast 65 fourth-quarter Cessna business jet deliveries, but says it now expects that number to be closer to 40.
Cessna officials had originally hoped for a double-digit improvement in sales in 2012, but revised those expectations after sales slowed in the second half. The company delivered 183 jets in 2011 and 179 in 2010. It would need to deliver at least 55 jets to stay on pace with 2011.
Hawker Beechcraft, meanwhile, last year announced plans to halt and/or sell off its jet products and was winding down the last of the production and completion work early in the fourth quarter.
Gulfstream, however, is expected to show increases in deliveries as it continued to ramp up deliveries of green G650s and began deliveries of its new G280.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association is expected to release the yearend totals industry-wide next month during its annual industry review.