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Smaller Jets Starting To Move

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After six years in the doldrums, there are signs of improvement in the small and medium-sized business jet market, according to analysts attending the Latin American Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (LABACE). Brian Foley, a New Jersey-based consultant, told Bloomberg the under-50,000-pound market sector shipped 20 percent more jets in the first half of 2014 compared to the previous year. "What we're finally seeing is that due to more confidence in the economy, people's balance sheets are improving," Foley told Bloomberg. "They're slowly coming back into the game, which is good for all aircraft manufacturers." LABACE began Tuesday and runs until Thursday in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

For the past six years, only the large-aircraft segment has prospered, largely because most of those who buy them are the ultra-rich, government agencies or large global companies that need (or want) the big planes regardless of market forces and wary boards of directors. The light- to mid-sized aircraft are more accurately described as business jets and in the absence of new acquisitions during the recession the existing aircraft are getting dated. Manufacturers are introducing new aircraft in that segment, with Cessna and Embraer squaring off for dominance.

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