International markets will drive business aviation recovery, say airframers

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International demand will make an important contribution to the business jet market's gradual recovery and account for an increased proportion of future sales, according to Cessna's vice-president for international sales Trevor Esling.

Speaking at the The Future of Business Jets conference in London on 10 November, Esling said: "The business aviation community has experienced true lows over the past two years but we are over the worst and are starting to rebuild the industry."

He expects the international markets to be at the forefront of the recovery: "Cessna expects that increased customer demand will first become apparent in certain international markets, and that regions such as Eastern Europe and Russia, Latin America and the Middle East will become more significant markets alongside the United States and European Union."

Esling also observed that China and India will grow in importance as business jet markets in the medium term, with the potential for increased demand for all categories of business aircraft. "We don't know about India and China yet. The markets have great potential but it there are regulatory and operational hurdles to overcome before this can happen," he said. "For example. There are more airports in the state of Alabama than in the whole of China."

This view was echoed at the conference by Hawker Beechcraft and Bombardier, who are targeting the international markets with increasing vigour following the economic downturn in North America and Europe. "The market will take on an increasingly international flavour," said Sean McGeough, Hawker Beechcraft's vice-president for Europe, Middle East and Asia. "Wealth is returning to the worldwide markets but economic growth is shifting eastwards bringing a new wave of high-net-worth individuals, businesses and new opportunities for the industry."