Business jet makers, still searching for global economic stability, are finding more solid footing in Latin America and have taken efforts to expand their presence in the region.
The Latin American business jet fleet has grown 10% in the past year, outpacing most regions worldwide, except Asia, analyst Brian Foley notes, citing JetNet data.
Historically, light and midsize business jets have reigned in Latin America, but more recently large business jets have experienced a 17% growth rate, and the smallest of business jets–including models such as theCitation Mustang and Phenom 100–have grown 20%, according to Foley.
Gulfstream has watched its fleet nearly triple in Latin America in the past six years from 58 to 150 aircraft, and the Savannah, Ga., manufacturer says the region now accounts for 8% of its worldwide fleet. Following recent trends, the large-cabin, long-range models are its biggest sellers in the region, prompting Gulfstream to expand its support in Brazil.
Gulfstream recently rebranded a maintenance facility in Sorocabo outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, marking its first factory service in Latin America and only one of three planned outside the U.S. Gulfstream also operates one in London and will open a third in Beijing.
“This will become an increasingly important hub for us,” says Gulfstream President Larry Flynn of the Sorocabo facility. Gulfstream has added capabilities to ensure the 35,000 sq. ft. (3,250 sq. meter) center can support all Brazil-registered Gulfstream aircraft.
Likewise,says it is expanding its Sorocaba service center to meet demand. The facility opened in 2009 and has received authorizations to work on Falcons registered in the U.S., Bermuda and Argentina; approval for European aircraft is pending.
The Falcon fleet, meanwhile, continues to expand in Brazil, and Dassault expects to deliver at least six more this year.
“Brazil is a dynamic and well-diversified economy with a healthy growth in GDP,” says Dassault President and CEO John Rosanvallon. “We’ve seen countries like Brazil become the epicenter of business aviation’s recovery over the past several years.”
, meanwhile, says Brazil has been the second largest market outside the U.S. for its Hawker 400 program, and expects it to remain so for the 400XPR upgrade program.
The growth of the market becomes particularly important at a time when European general aviation markets have stagnated and Asian markets have slowed, Foley says. “We believe this region will continue to play a key role in sustaining what has been a very troubled industry, hopefully until the U.S. market regains its strength,” he notes.
While the focus has been on Brazil, other markets, including Mexico, have become stronger sales territories. In addition, used aircraft have sold well in Latin America alongside new aircraft.
Latin American now accounts for 10% of the worldwide fleet, but Foley says that it has been under appreciated. “Were it not for the steady activity the region has provided, especially during this recent downturn, our manufacturers would be in even direr straits today.”