Demand For Large Corporate Jets Declines, Consultant Notes

Bombardier Global 5000
Credit: Bombardier

A decade ago, the world had an “insatiable appetite” for large corporate jets, but that demand has recently decreased, said aviation consultant Brian Foley. 

“That love affair has broken up as many of the previous demand drivers have gone the way of the Harlem Shake and planking,” said Foley, with Brian Foley Associates.

Ten years ago, the large jet category was a relatively new segment of the business jet market with a number of new models on the market, such as Gulfstream’s G450, G550 and G650, Bombardier’s Global 5000 and 6000 and the Dassault Falcon 7X. At the time, demand outpaced supply with impatient buyers paying multi-million dollar premiums to order holders to move to the front of the line rather than wait two-to-five years for their new aircraft, he said.  

During the previous recession, large business jet orders held up as buyers in the segment typically had their own financing sources to keep orders intact. At the same time, the small- and mid-sized end of the business jet market collapsed, Foley noted. 

Today, demand drivers that boosted the large end of the market have waned. 

“Emerging markets, once a primary purveyor of long-range jets given their geographic remoteness, have fallen victim to lackluster stock markets, geopolitical instability and a dive in natural resources prices,” Foley said. China’s business jet fleet, once the fastest-growing business jet market, has contracted with deteriorating economic conditions and a “new reluctance to ostentatiousness have taken a toll.” 

A strong U.S. dollar and plunging oil prices have impacted the large business jet market, he said. Some analysts predict that up to one-in-five corporate jets sold are directly or indirectly dependent on the health of the oil and gas industry.

In 2008, large jet deliveries totaled 195, rising to 249 in 2013. In 2019, manufacturers delivered 207 large jets, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. 

Light jet deliveries, meanwhile, totaled 371 in 2008, before declining to 77 in 2013 and a low of 70 in 2015. In 2019, manufacturers delivered 162 light jets, according to GAMA data.

Longer term, demand will improve in the large cabin market, Foley said, and newly available and upcoming large business jets tend to stimulate sales. 


Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.