Leading business jet manufacturers Dassault, Embraer and Gulfstream had a significant presence at Australia’s major international air show, Avalon, between 28 February and 5 March, confirming their commitment to the small but stable aircraft market.

Embraer displayed a Legacy 450 at Avalon, near Melbourne, in the superlight type’s first appearance at the show. The aircraft was accompanied by a Phenom 300, which entered service in Australia in January.

Over the period 2011-2016, the country’s business jet market has been stable, reaching 191 aircraft in 2016, says Claudio Camelier, Embraer Executive Jets’ vice-president sales, Asia-Pacific and Middle East. This comprises 59 large-cabin, 48 midsize and 84 light jets. The large-cabin category has increased and the medium sector fallen in recent years, he says.

Embraer has just six business jets flying in Australia today: three Phenom 100s, a Phenom 300, a Legacy 500 and a Legacy 600, with Camelier saying Australian operators typically favour pre-owned aircraft.

Avalon Legacy 450

Emma Kelly

“In the near future we are not going to see a big shift in this behaviour: it will remain stable, with some new aircraft,” he predicts. To support the country’s fleet, Embraer has established a service centre network with bases in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Gulfstream sent a G280, G550 and G650ER to Avalon. The company’s commitment to the local market is demonstrated by its appointment last year of a permanent field service representative in Sydney, and a parts facility in Melbourne.

The airframer is optimistic of further growth in the Australian market, where it boasts an inventory of 16 aircraft – about one-third of which are ultra-long-range G650s.

“We will continue to see the G650 fleet growing here,” says Roger Sperry, regional senior vice-president, international sales, Asia-Pacific, who adds that the G280 is also gaining interest thanks to its 8h endurance, which puts Singapore in reach from the Australian east coast.

Avalon meanwhile marked the Australian debut of Dassault’s flagship Falcon 8X, which the airframer displayed alongside a large-cabin 2000LXS.

Dassault says it has had a presence in Australia since 1967, when its first aircraft – a midsize Falcon 20 – entered service. Flight Fleets Analyzer shows an inventory of nine Falcon jets in the country: three 2000s, two 900s, two 20s, a 7X and a 50EX.

Manufacturers are also readying for a decision from Canberra on how to replace the two leased Boeing Business Jets and three Bombardier Challenger 604s operated by the Royal Australian Air Force’s 34 Sqn for governmental and VIP transport missions. The tender closed last year, with airframers talking to potential local partners on teaming arrangements.

Source: Flight International