Honeywell is forecasting a "strong rebound" in business jet orders based on operator expectations of an economic recovery next year. However, the company's 10th annual business aviation outlook was published prior to the cancellation of the National Business Aviation Association convention and before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. These events are likely to change the short-term and long-term prospects for the industry.

The forecast projects deliveries of more than 4,000 aircraft over the next five years, an increase of 20% over last year's forecast. The 10-year projection is for 8,900 deliveries worth more than $136 billion.

The survey of the purchase expectations of 1,000 flight departments in Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America shows a significant rebound in buyer interest, Honeywell says. As a result, the company believes that orders will begin recovering from their current low level by mid-to-late next year.

The near-term forecast is supported by manufacturer backlogs of more than 2,700 aircraft. Despite the slowdown in new orders, business jet shipments in the first half of the year reached a record 400 units, up 10% on the same period last year, and Honeywell expects deliveries of almost 760 aircraft this year.

The company expects deliveries to stay at around the same level next year before climbing to the 800-aircraft mark. "Later in the decade, new aircraft offerings will stimulate a steady climb toward 1,000 deliveries per year,"Honeywell projects. New models account for 46% of aircraft expected to be purchased over the next five years.

Honeywell also bases its forecast on growth in areas like fractional ownership, including the entry of airlines into the market. Fractional operations currently account for less than 6% of the world aircraft fleet and less than 18% of annual deliveries but roughly 45% of the order backlog, and will comprise 15-17% of active business aircraft and 20-25% of deliveries by 2011, the company forecasts.

Honeywell's forecast covers business jets up to 45,400kg (100,000lb) take-off weight. In addition, the company says projected demand for commercial transport aircraft configured as business jets has increased and totals about 175 aircraft, worth $10 billion, between 2002 and 2010.

Source: Flight International