News Column

Next Year May Stabilize for Business Jets

Dec. 27, 2012

Molly McMillin, The Wichita Eagle

Learjet 85
Learjet 85

"The business jet market is finishing another tough year, its fourth since the 2008 peak," according to a report issued earlier this month by J.P. Morgan.

"The industry should turn up eventually, and there have been intermittent signs of stabilization, suggesting demand could improve this coming year," it said.

But the near-term outlook isn't encouraging.

The market is important to Wichita, where Cessna Aircraft and Bombardier Learjet build business jets, and where more than a third of all jets built worldwide are manufactured.

Honeywell's annual forecast released in October called 2011 the bottom of the down cycle for corporate jets.

The forecast projected planemakers worldwide would ship 680 to 720 new jets in 2012, compared to 683 a year ago.

The forecast expects 2013 shipments to be about the same as in 2012.

In early 2013, Hawker Beechcraft plans to emerge from bankruptcy as a smaller organization retaining its King Air, Baron, Bonanza and military manufacturing, and its service organization. It also plans to drop its business jet production.

It's too soon to say what may happen with employment at the company, since it has already stopped building jets.

In the meantime, Boeing Wichita continues with its plan to leave Wichita in early 2014. The majority of employees will leave sometime in 2013.

At the same time, the commercial airline industry is strong. And as Boeing increases production, that's good news for Spirit AeroSystems, which builds portions of all Boeing airliners.

Source: (c)2012 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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