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Business jet demand expected to grow

Published on -10/22/2013, 7:25 AM

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WICHTA, Kan. (AP) -- Aviation, a key driver of the Kansas economy, received some good news in the form of a forecast that says demand for light and medium-sized business jets will rebound over the next decade.

The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/174UaSQ ) reported Monday that the forecast comes from Honeywell Aerospace.

That is a good sign for manufacturers of those aircraft, a large number of which are located in Wichita, said Rob Wilson, president of Honeywell Business and General Aviation.

Demand will be spurred by new products and innovations, Honeywell said in a report released Sunday in Las Vegas before Tuesday's opening of the National Business Aviation Association's trade show.

Business jet manufacturers have new program developments underway, said Charles Park, Honeywell's director of market analysis.

"When those airplanes come into the market, we're very strong believers that that will stimulate demand," Park said.

Demand for light jets is expected to grow by 9 percent during the next 10 years, while demand for medium-sized jets is forecast to grow 13 percent, the company said.

Honeywell forecasts plane makers will deliver up to 9,250 new business jets between now through 2022. It expects deliveries to hit a low this year of 600 to 625 business jets, but those numbers should begin to improve in 2014 and start to grow.

This year's decline is mostly due to delays in new programs, rather than deterioration in demand, Wilson said. The anticipated growth next year and beyond is also linked in part to the projected pace of global economic recovery, he said.

The forecast is based in part on a survey of 12 to 15 percent of corporate fleet operators worldwide. About 1,500 were asked about their plans to replace or expand their aircraft fleets.

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