A sluggish 2012 spurred FAA to dampen its long-term general aviation outlook, but the agency still sees strong long-term growth, particularly in the business jet segment.
In its most recent 20-yr. Aerospace Forecast (2013-2033), the agency predicts an overall annual growth rate of 0.5%. Business jets are forecast to lead the way with an average growth rate of 3.5% per year, leading to an expected fleet of 24,620 by 2033.
The agency’s forecast last year was even more optimistic, seeing growth of 0.6% of the overall general aviation aircraft population through 2032 and 4% business jet fleet growth.
But FAA is telling a different story for piston activity, as the general aviation pilot population continues to slide. The agency sees the number of piston aircraft and rotorcraft declining through most of the forecast period, before picking up again in 2028. Overall, the piston fleet is expected to decline 0.2% over the entire forecast period. The fleet was 159,007 and 2010, and will drop to 148,660 by 2033, the agency predicts.
Again, the 2012 forecast also was more optimistic for the piston fleet, but still saw a slight decline of 0.1%.