Business & GA, Connectivity

Technology, Range Drive $280 Billion Business Jet Market

By Woodrow Bellamy III  | October 20, 2014
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[Avionics Today 10-20-2014] Global demand for business aviation is projected at deliveries of 9,450 new business jets valued at $280 billion between 2014 and 2024, according to the 23rd annual business aviation forecast released by Honeywell Aerospace ahead of NBAA 2014. Across all business jet segments, range is the top consideration for new purchases, along with an interest in cabin volume, connectivity and advanced avionics, said Brian Still president of business and general aviation at Honeywell Aerospace. 
Gulfstream G500/G600 flight deck. Photo: Honeywell
The 10-year forecast is up $30 billion from the projected demand for 9,250 new jets worth $250 billion reported in last year's forecast from Honeywell. The aerospace manufacturer's forecast features information gathered from interviews conducted with more than 1,500 non-fractional business jet operators in the United States and across the globe operating nearly 3,500 aircraft. Results show that operators plan to replace 23 percent of their fleets with new jets over the next five years. Large cabin, long range jets will account for 46 percent of the projected global demand, followed by 28 percent light-medium and medium size jets and 26 percent small cabin jets, according to the forecast.
Regionally, North America is projected to continue to lead, accounting for about 60 percent of demand over the next five years. That is followed by 18 percent in Europe, 17 percent in Latin America and three percent each for operators in the Asia Pacific and Middle East and Africa. One of the key regional findings of the survey though was that operators in Brazil reported the strongest aircraft purchase plans of all countries surveyed.
“We believe global business aviation growth will be aided by structural and regulatory reforms, longer-term economic growth and aircraft innovation," said Still. "As a systems supplier, we believe product innovation in the form of aircraft connectivity and communication technology solutions like the JetWave Ka-band satellite connectivity system, safety and situational awareness offerings like the IntuVue weather radar, as well as flexible service offerings and value-added upgrades, will support the expanded use of business aircraft as a key tool in the global economy."
The key term there is "value-added upgrades," as Honeywell is focusing on matching the development of its newer aircraft technology solutions to match user needs, according to Bob Witwer, vice president of advanced technology for Honeywell. Witwer said that unlike in the past, when Honeywell and other avionics manufacturers focused more on innovation and expanding aircraft technological capabilities for business aviation and other segments of aviation, the new focus is on user centric development and introducing solutions that will meet user needs as they buy new aircraft and upgrade their existing fleets with next generation avionics. 
One of those needs is definitely aircraft connectivity, which was noted by Carl Esposito, vice president of marketing and product management at Honeywell. Esposito said the annual outlook has helped Honeywell focus on investments "such as designing and developing flight efficiency upgrades, optimized propulsion offerings, innovative safety products and enhanced connectivity offerings." 
During the presentation of the annual forecast, AT&T President of In-flight Connectivity (IFC) Mike Coffey, noted that the telecommunications provider is partnering with Honeywell to introduce an IFC solution for business aviation with a connection speed of 30 megabits per second (Mbps)--much higher than average in-flight connection speeds experienced on most business and commercial air transport aircraft today.
Another factor that will drive new aircraft purchases and avionics upgrades are approaching airspace mandates in the two regions accounting for the largest share of the global business jet fleet, the United States and Europe. While the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast Out (ADS-B Out) equipage mandate in the United States is Jan. 1, 2020, aircraft flying above 28,500 feet in European airspace must be equipped with Private Mode Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (PM CPDLC) avionics by Feb. 5, 2015.
When asked whether mandates are driving decisions by operators to upgrade rather than replace their aircraft versus other aviation segments such as commercial air transport operators, Esposito said that Honeywell is seeing earlier adoption of technology to meet those mandates than in other sectors.
"We're seeing business aviation customers adopt the technology earlier than other aviation users because they're seeing some of the benefits of that technology, so for FANS (Future Air Navigation System) being able to get their flight re-routes and planning, CPDLC in terms of being able to be more efficient with communications," said Esposito. 
"It is a very complex and diverse set of aircraft," Esposito added, referring to the existing global business aircraft fleet. "That's why we're spending a lot of time at these shows and customer forums, teaching and educating our customers about what you have, what you need and when you need it."

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