With just over two weeks to go to NBAA in Atlanta, there are mixed signs about the strength of the business aviation recovery. The downturn has been longer and deeper than most manufacturers and experts predicted two years ago, with some segments - particularly at the lighter end - stubbornly refusing to show signs of life.
A lot of this has to do with the state of the secondhand market. The output boom of the mid to late 2000s - much of it fuelled by speculative purchasing and charter and fractional start-up ventures - has led to a glut of used aircraft on the market searching for buyers. This has meant that, despite the slow economic recovery, manufacturers such as Cessna have been unable to increase production, fearing that pushing more new equipment onto the market will simply depress residuals further and widen the gap between list prices and those of nearly-new aircraft.
But there are signs of returning confidence. Bombardier - less affected than Cessna because its larger jets, which have longer lead times and are produced in smaller volumes, have been more resilient to the downturn. Its Global and Challenger ranges also have a broader appeal in regions that have come out of the global doldrums faster than Europe and North America, including Asia and the Middle East.
Now comes confirmation that the Canadian company will revamp its Global range at NBAA. At the smaller end, the former Grob SPn - cancelled when its main investor pulled out in 2008 - could be back in business, with news that turboprop specialist Daher Socata is evaluating the composite light jet with a view to using the design to launch its own jet programme. There has also been Turkish interest in reviving production of the Eclipse 500.
As always NBAA will be a barometer of how robust the recovery is. Flight International's 12 October issue will have a 30-page business aviation special, which will include an in-service report on operator experience of the Embraer Phenom 100, a cutaway celebrating the Gulfstream business jet family, a flight test of the Cessna Citation CJ4 and features on avionics, upset training, in-flight entertainment and much more.