Kate Sarsfield/LONDON

Nearly 6,500 business aircraft worth more than $78 billion will be built during the next decade, according to the tenth annual forecast by the US-based Teal Group. The prediction marks a 60% growth over forecasted deliveries during the previous decade when, says Teal's leading analyst Richard Aboulafia, "only 3,716 business jets worth $45.6 billion were delivered".

Aboulafia says: "After spending three decades as a small afterthought to the commercial aviation market, the business jet industry has experienced unprecedented growth, tripling in value between 1995 and 2000."

The Fairfax, Virginia-based aviation consultancy reveals the business aircraft market is "as large as the fighter aircraft industry [in terms of dollar value]. Better still, doubts about this growth creating a bubble effect have given way to confidence that the market will stay at a much higher level."

Aboulafia notes, however, that the market has reached its peak and will start to decline next year. He attributes the boom in sales largely to the introduction of fractional ownership, an unprecedented number of new models and the "near-supply push" phenomenon that pushes up demand which cannot be sustained. But Aboulafia concedes: " The worst years of this forecast period will be better than any year before 1999."

Once again, Bombardier will lead its rivals in terms of market share, followed by Gulfstream, Cessna, Dassault and Raytheon. The Canadian company, Teal predicts, will garner a 26% slice of the sales, compared with the 18% held during the 1990s.

Teal believes that a supersonic business jet programme will probably be launched within 20 years.

Source: Flight International