Graham Warwick/WASHINGTON DC

Bombardier believes it took the lead in business jet deliveries, in value terms, for the first time last year. The company delivered 173 corporate aircraft in 1999, up more than 70% on 1998.

While most manufacturers will not report their 1999 deliveries until early February, Bombardier believes the value of its shipments last year exceeded that of long-established market leader Gulfstream for the first time.

Ramping up production of its new Learjet 45 and Global Express business jets boosted the company's 1999 total substantially. Bombardier delivered 43 Learjet 45s and 32 Global Expresses last year compared with seven and three, respectively, in 1998.

The balance of the shipments comprised 24 Learjet 31As, 32 Learjet 60s and 42 Challenger 604s (up from 36 the year before). Bombardier says deliveries will increase again this year, with production of the Learjet 45 and 60 planned to reach around 50 aircraft each. Gulfstream has yet to release its 1999 figures, but previously said it expected to produce more than 60 GIV-SPs and GVs, having delivered 61 in 1998.

Newcomer Boeing Business Jets, meanwhile, boosted deliveries of its 737-based corporate aircraft to 29 last year, up from seven in 1998. At list price, that puts shipments above $1 billion for the first time. Airbus Industrie, in its first year of deliveries, shipped two A319 Corporate Jets.

In number terms, Cessna is likely to be the leader, having delivered 224 Citation-series business jets, up from 195 the year before. Raytheon, yet to release its figures, is certain to have exceeded its 1998 total of 91 Beechjet 400As and Hawker 800XPs. With deliveries of King Air turboprops (123 in 1998), the company is likely to have shipped more turbine-powered business aircraft last year than any other manufacturer.

Dassault declines to reveal its Falcon business jet deliveries for 1999, but says it will deliver 210 over three years to 2001 - an average of 70 a year. Dassault says it booked 72 new orders last year.

Source: Flight International