The U.S. still operates about 80 percent of the world’s business jets but if recent trends continue, that dominance will end. At a conference in Shannon, Ireland, last week, delegates to the Financial Solutions for Business Aircraft event were told that the business jet market has shifted considerably in the last five years, with 72 percent of business jets going to U.S. customers in 2006 and just 42 percent in 2010. The so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are taking up much of the slack and European sales have also been strong. But like virtually every other economic forecaster, guest speaker Oliver Stone, of Colibri Aircraft, said China is the country to watch in terms of business aviation expansion.
“We have definitely seen a significant shift in terms of market dominance,” Stone said. ” The U.S. has been the dominant force for 50 years but it is anticipated that demand in China will grow by 50 percent annually and there will be around 500 business jets there by 2014.” Latin America is also showing remarkable gains and India is also on the move. “This change means that the private jet sector is definitely globalizing,” Stone said. “It is a huge change and opportunity for the industry globally and the challenge is to streamline legislation so that the emerging nations can have more freedom of flight than they have at present.”