New Private-Jet Models Push Deliveries to Highest in a Decade

Business-jet shipments last year jumped to their highest level in a decade, spurred on by new models and solid U.S. economic growth.

Deliveries rose 15% to 809 aircraft, theGeneral Aviation Manufacturers Association said Wednesday. Sales jumped 17% to $21.1 billion, driven in large part by big corporate planes.

New aircraft, including the Gulfstream G500,Bombardier Inc.’s Global 7500 andTextron Inc.’s Cessna Longitude helped bring the market to its highest mark since 2009. Deliveries peaked at 1,300 jets in 2008, when the recession caused a multiyear decline.

Demand last year also got support from a U.S. economy that grew 2.3% and as concerns eased over the U.K.’s exit from the European Union. About 67% of jet shipments went to North American customers. Europe, the second-biggest market, accounted for 14%.

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“The general-aviation manufacturing industry is vibrant,” association President Pete Bunce said in a statement. “The development of supersonic and electrically propelled aircraft” is helping to fuel optimism among manufacturers.

Shipments of large business jets, which can seat as many as 19 passengers, jumped 20% to 207 planes. Configurations on the biggest aircraft often will sacrifice seating for other amenities, such as dining and sleeping areas.

Deliveries of midsize jets, accounting for a little more than half the market, increased 14% to 440 planes. Shipments of small aircraft, which typically carry around four passengers, rose 12%.

Jefferies and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have projected that shipments will increase this year, though not as much as last year, with new aircraft continuing to drive growth.General Dynamics Corp.’s Gulfstream unit is ramping up deliveries of the G600, which was first handed over to customers in August. Textron’s Cessna began deliveries of the Longitude, its largest aircraft, in October.

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