Trade body the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is redoubling its efforts to convince European lawmakers and the public of business and general aviation’s importance to the continent’s technology value chain.

That is the message GAMA chief executive Pete Bunce is sending to operators on the continent ahead of the election of a new European Parliament in June. The message also comes amid increased scrutiny of the sector’s contribution to climate change.

G700 first flight

Source: Gulfstream

GAMA says business aviation is a source of innovation for wider aerospace industry

“In Europe, traditionally, deliveries of business aviation aircraft was about 20% [of global deliveries], but in 2023 it was just 12%,” Bunce said at the Aero Friedrichshafen show on 17 April. 

“We delivered just 88 business jets to Europe, the lowest number of business jets since we started tracking by geographic segment.

“We need to pay attention to that. There are things driving those numbers.”

Bunce says the aviation industry is crucial for technology advancements, also in Europe. Therefore, increased regulation and restrictions will hinder, not help, efforts to cut carbon output.

“Aviation is a technology incubator,” he says. ”If you attack that, you disable the ability to drive toward sustainable aviation.

“We have a lot of work to do with the industry and the new parliament to emphasise how our segment will drive our goal of net zero by 2050,” he adds. “Without integrated supply chains, new aviation companies can’t succeed, and business aviation is a key element in there.”

In February, GAMA said deliveries of business and general aviation aircraft last year topped 4,000 globally for the first time in more than a decade. In addition to the strong sales figures, GAMA statistics show “robust and growing order backlogs for all segments of aircraft”, Bunce said at the time.

However, the airframers – like their peers in commercial aviation – are facing supply chain issues, labour shortages and increased regulatory oversight, in numerous jurisdictions. In addition, efforts at curtailing business and general aviation are mounting, especially in Europe, where sensitivity to factors that accelerate climate change is high.