US Federal Aviation Administration forecasters expect around 5,000 very light jets (VLJ) to be operating within national airspace by 2017, utilised at rates similar to fractional-ownership aircraft.

The FAA expects 100 VLJs, or microjets, to enter the market during fiscal year 2006, which ends in September, with the US fleet to grow by 400-500 aircraft a year to 2017, according to the agency’s 2006 aerospace forecast.

Hours flown by jet-powered general aviation types are expected to increase 10.2% annually between 2006 and 2017, primarily due to the advent of VLJs, says the FAA. “The large increases in jet hours result from the introduction of microjets, but there is still a good deal of uncertainty about the utilisation rates of the new microjets,” says the FAA.

The FAA challenges analysts who predict that VLJs used for on-demand air taxi service could achieve flying rates of 2,000h a year. It says: “The FAA believes that microjet utilisation rates will instead be closer to the utilisation rates achieved by fractional operators, which fly about 1,200h a year.”


Source: Flight International