Wichita business jet manufacturers expect demand for light and midsize business jets to accelerate across the Asia-Pacific region in the next decade, the companies said Tuesday, the first day of the Singapore Airshow.
For example, the Asia-Pacific region currently accounts for 10 percent of Cessna Aircraft’s business jet sales. That’s expected to rise in the medium to long term, Cessna officials said Tuesday.
“The region’s economic resilience during the global financial crisis, rising national prosperity and Chinese liberalization make it likely that the business aviation market will mature at quite a rapid pace," Trevor Esling, Cessna Aircraft vice president of sales for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, said in a statement. “Cessna, therefore, expects demand for light and mid-size aircraft to rise accordingly."
Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft and Bombardier’s Learjet products are displayed this week in Singapore at the air show, which runs through Sunday at the Changi Exhibition Center.
“The Asian region is very important for our industry as well as Hawker Beechcraft,” said Ron Gunnarson, Hawker Beechcraft vice president of marketing communications.
On Tuesday, the company announced an order from Jakarta-based Lion Air for two Hawker 900XP business jets, for delivery this year. The order includes options for two additional planes.
Last year, 14 percent of Hawker Beechcraft’s sales were from the Asia-Pacific region. From 2006 to 2010, deliveries of its Hawker brand increased 143 percent in the region, while Beechcraft deliveries increased 71 percent, Gunnarson said.
The Chinese economy is expected to grow by more than 10 percent this year, Esling said. Forecasts for the economies of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are positive as well.
By 2025, China is expected to become one of the top 10 countries for business jet ownership, Esling said.
There is some caution, however.
Although still “powerful,” some forecasters see growth domestic product slowing a bit, Gunnarson said. And there are infrastructure issues.
Until airports get built, the market will likely grow from the larger jets down to the light and midsize jets.
“We can grow with the infrastructure,” Gunnarson said.
Planemakers have been strengthening their presence in the region to prepare for growth. In the past year, Cessna increased its business jet sales team to nine members, dedicated a field service manager and plans to complete a joint service facility with its sister company, Bell Helicopter, mid-year, the company said.
And Hawker Beechcraft has increased its sales, support and spares capacity in the region.
“The No. 1 thing to sell airplanes is being about to support airplanes in the region,” Gunnarson said. “All that infrastructure is in place, and now we’re going to participate in the upturn.”