Forecast: 2006 Will Be Good for Jets

The number of business jets delivered in 2006 is expected to hit record highs, according to Honeywell Aerospace's 14th annual business aviation outlook, which will be released today.

Next year, the outlook says, the industry should ship 800 business jets, which would set a record.

"The industry is in great shape right now," said Charles Park, Honeywell Aerospace's director of market analysis.

That bodes well for Wichita's three general aviation planemakers, which together delivered more than 40 percent of all general aviation aircraft in the world last year.

Park expects shipments to peak in 2006 or 2007, then flatten or dip slightly before climbing again. Starting about the year 2013, Park said, business jet shipments are expected to reach 1,000 a year.

For the 11 years from 2005 through 2015, the outlook predicts delivery of about 9,900 new business jets generating sales of $156 billion.

The outlook includes business jets, starting with very light jets costing $2 million or more. It does not include ultralight jets such as the Eclipse 500 or the Adam 700.

Honeywell predicts demand for 4,500 to 5,500 ultralight jets over the next 10 years.

This year's 11-year forecast is up from Honeywell's outlook last year, which predicted demand for 8,300 jets worth more than $131 billion from 2004 to 2014.

Honeywell's latest forecast will be released this evening before the start of the National Business Aviation Aerospace's annual meeting and convention. The show begins Wednesday in Orlando, Fla.

Honeywell produces the outlook with data from 1,400 sources: corporate flight departments around the world, aircraft manufacturers, industry sources and Honeywell's own analysis of the economy.

Favorable economic conditions are helping the industry recover. So is the introduction of new aircraft that incorporate advances in aviation technology.

"There's a lot of really neat airplanes that are in the pipeline that we are looking forward to," Park said.

The prediction of record deliveries next year -- which would beat the previous peak in 2001 -- assumes growth in the U.S. domestic product and that the global economy holds, said Frank Daly, Honeywell executive vice president of marketing and product management.

Healthy orders at this week's NBAA would help prevent a dip in deliveries after 2007.

"I think if we have a successful NBAA, and there's some pretty good order rates encountered by the aircraft manufacturers there, we'll sail right through 2007 and beyond," Park said.

Despite the rosy outlook, buying plans from North American operators are down from a year ago. That's because many have recently ordered or taken delivery of new planes and don't expect to buy in the next five years.

Some also say they're worried about rising fuel and insurance costs and the possibility of air traffic control fees. That could dampen buying plans, Park said.

Five-year buying plans in other regions around the world are encouraging, the forecast said.

More operators in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America plan to buy business jets in the next five years.