Asian purchase plans had posted a nearly nine-point gain in the 2008 survey versus the year earlier, and they remain high compared to other regions and from a historical perspective. Total replacement and expansion plans are just over 58 percent for the region in the 2009 survey after approaching 50 percent last year.
Clearly, the relatively mild impact of the global recession on major Asian economies such as China and India is helping support a more optimistic level of interest in business jets. This is reflected in the significant contribution from Chinese & Indian operators in the overall Asia-Pacific purchase plans this year. Improving access and ease of use may also be a contributing factor.
Since the fleets are relatively small in this region, more volatility is to be expected. As in the other regions, the majority of the change came from increased plans for fleet replacement rather than from expansion plans.
Confidence in Middle Eastern and Asian economic growth in the intermediate and long-term remains high, boosting interest in larger, longer-range aircraft with better operating economics. Concerns over new duty time restrictions and carbon emission regulations were voiced in this region as well.
Global Purchase Expectations Improve in Latest Survey Honeywell’s 2009 purchase expectations survey is based on interviews conducted in the second and third quarters of 2009 encompassing a random sample of more than 1,200 corporate flight departments worldwide. Overall, world purchase plans improved over 2008 levels despite the economic turbulence encountered in the last year.
North American purchase expectations declined slightly, but expectations in several other world regions improved to an unexpected extent. Globally respondents to this year’s survey said they expect to purchase new aircraft equivalent of about 40 percent of their current fleets over the next five years, exceeding 2008 survey results by about eight points. This includes aircraft to be purchased for replacement as well as those for fleet expansion.
“The improvement in overall purchase expectations is remarkable and indicative of the increasingly global nature of the industry and of improved outlooks for economic recovery in a number of regions outside North America,” Wilson said.
Honeywell’s 2009 survey indicates a potential demand for more than 5,000 aircraft globally during the 2010-2014 period, excluding demand from fractional ownership or branded charter start-up businesses and piston aircraft owner trade-ups into jet aircraft. The strong survey results are welcome; however, a sharp recovery in deliveries is less probable, since this potential demand has to be translated to orders, and in turn to increases in production that will take some time to implement if purchase intentions remain solid. “Clearly operators around the world are looking beyond the current economic climate and anticipating a return to improved business conditions. The level of optimism varies somewhat by region, but it is certainly behind the stronger purchase plans reported this year,” Wilson added. “While these results appear remarkably upbeat, it should be noted that the timing of planned purchases in the five-year window is heavily shifted in most regions to the post-2010 timeframe.”
Fleet Replacement Drivers
Chief reasons to replace current aircraft remain relatively consistent with prior surveys; with age, cabin size and range improvement all listed as important criteria in every region. As might be expected in the current economic climate, a desire to replace current models with more efficient or lower operating cost models gained prominence this year. New technologies in avionics and engines are also leading reasons for aircraft replacement in every region.
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