Many analysts predicted that business jet deliveries would bounce back in 2014, but despite encouraging mid-year figures that suggested we could see double-digit growth, the final tally only reached a little over six percent.
Year-on-year gains were the highest at Bombardier, helped largely by another strong year for the Global family, and a big jump in Lear 70/75 deliveries.
ALSO SEE: 2015 Business Jet Delivery Tracker
At the other end of the scale, Dassault saw the steepest drop in deliveries, where an 11 unit deficit is roughly equivalent to a 14 per cent decline.
Airbus delivered one aircraft less in 2014 than it did in 2013. As in the previous year, Airbus did not deliver any wide-body aircraft, but there was a shift between members of the single aisle family, with more A320ACJs delivered than A319ACJs.
Deliveries of Boeing‘s staple BBJs were also down during the year, although shipments of larger models were up. Boeing only delivered two BBJs (both of which were BBJ2s), which is perhaps a sign that potential clients are waiting to see how long it could take to take delivery of a re-engined BBJ Max aircraft.
Boeing saw the biggest upturn in deliveries for executive 787s, with 2014 seeing four shipments versus the one delivery in 2013.
Boeing counts an aircraft as delivered once its leaves the factory for a completion centre, so whereas the Saudi Ministry of Finance took delivery of two 787s and put them straight into service, the Mexican Air Force also took delivery of an aircraft which is currently being outfitted in Dallas.
Boeing also delivered an executive version of the 777 during 2014, with msn 60116 / 3C-MAB delivering into Basel Switzerland mid-way through December to be outfitted.
A strong surge in Global and LearJet 70/75 deliveries helped Bombardier helped the Canadian airframer deliver 24 more aircraft in 2014 than 2013.
Global 5000/6000 deliveries reached 80 units for the first time, helped by deliveries of eight aircraft to VistaJet, four to NetJets and the first three aircraft to VistaJet’s US division. Deliveries to North America remained strong, but other destinations included Brazil, Finland, Mexico, Qatar and South Africa.
Having begun deliveries part way through the previous year, 2014 was the first full year of deliveries for the LearJet 70/75, which saw an 83 per cent rise from 18 to 33 aircraft.
September saw the first European registered LearJet 75 delivered into France, and was quickly followed by deliveries to Austria and Malta. Most aircraft were again delivered to North America, however a single aircraft shipped to Namibia stands out as the most exotic.
Bombardier delivered one less Challenger 350 than the previous year: NetJets took delivery of the first Challenger 350 mid-year, and added a further five before the end of the year, while FlexJets and VistaJet also received aircraft.
Dassault suffered the biggest decline, delivering 11 aircraft less than the previous year.
This was felt mainly in Falcon 7X deliveries, which saw the biggest drop in deliveries of any type from any manufacturer; the 27 Falcon 7Xs delivered in 2014 was actually the lowest number of Falcon 7Xs delivered since 2008.
With the introduction of the Falcon 8X in May 2014 the 7X was replaced as the flagship Falcon aircraft. The Falcon 8X is a one meter stretch of the Falcon 7X that the aircraft is based on, and will be built side-by-side with its smaller stable-mate.
Serial numbers for the Falcon 8X start at 400, whereas the current highest delivered Falcon 7X serial number is 251. Therefore its logical to assume that there are at least 50 more Falcon 7X orders outstanding.
Falcon 2000 family deliveries continued to rise, with the change over from the 2000LX to the 2000LXS gathering pace. Deliveries of the 2000S also continued to rise, although this was only by one unit.
New deliveries of the Falcon 2000S during the year included the only current Falcon 2000 family aircraft to be registered on the Chinese mainland (msn 721 / B-8210), which was delivered to Deer Jet, who manages the aircraft in Beijing for De Hong (although there is currently a 2011-build 2000LX registered in Macau). Other countries taking deliveries included Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Mexico, Poland and Turkey.
Making a welcome return to aircraft deliveries in 2014 were Eclipse, which delivered 12 Eclipse 500s aircraft throughout the year.
With the first Eclipse 500 delivering early in 2014 hopes were high for a decent amount of deliveries spread out through the year. However, the company ran out of steam towards the end of the year – and with the vast majority of customer deliveries happening in the second and third quarters, the final few months of the year saw just two aircraft delivered.
All 12 Eclipse 500s delivered were converted and upgraded Eclipse 500s. Newly built aircraft start at serial number 550-1000, and Eclipse hope to start delivering the new build aircraft soon.
With 73 deliveries – 13 more units than last year – the Embraer Phenom 300 was most delivered business jet for the second year running. Although Bombardier cites a higher total for its Global family, this figures includes both Global 5000 and Global 6000 deliveries.
Despite the Phenom 300 performance, Embraer deliveries slipped by three units in total. The biggest declines were for the Phenom 100, which saw a 36 per cent drop in deliveries. Also in decline were deliveries of Embraer’s flagship Lineage 1000E, along with the Legacy 650, which dropped by three aircraft to 18 deliveries.
Unsurprisingly, Embraer’s native Brazil received the first Legacy 500, which was quickly followed by deliveries to North American clients to bring Legacy 500 deliveries to a disappointing total of three. However, the aircraft did win Corporate Jet Investor’s aircraft of the year award.
Gulfstream had another great year, with an increase in mid-size cabin deliveries offsetting a slight decline in large cabin shipments.
Although the company does not announce delivery numbers per aircraft model, it was the G280 that saw the biggest hike in deliveries, with the mid cabin aircraft enjoying a 43 per cent rise.
G280 shipments through the year included deliveries to Aruba, Mexico and Turkey, as well as three aircraft delivering into China.
The large cabin sector saw the first deliveries of Gulfstream’s newest variant, the G650ER. Announced at the 2014 EBACE show in Geneva Switzerland, the G650ER pumps up the range of the straight G650 by an additional 500 nm.
As well as being available as a new build, Gulfstream also offers a retrofit kit, with several owners of previously delivered G650s opting for the upgrade. Gulfstream says the retrofit costs around $2 million, with aircraft downtime for the work being around one week.
In November Gulfstream introduced the G500 and the G600 aircraft simultaneously. The first products from the mysterious sounding ‘P42’ project, the new aircraft will form the backbone of Gulfstream’s product replacement, although the company is keen to point out that the G500 will not directly replace the current G450 – nor will the G600 replace the G550 – but all products will be available side-by-side until the market decides its unnecessary to keep building the G450 and G550.
G650 deliveries continued apace through the year, the aircraft appearing for the first time on the registers of with Austria, Bahrain, Greece, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland.
The joint Textron Beechcraft and Cessna units also had a strong year, although all of the deliveries came from Cessna.
New aircraft types/variants delivered for the first time in the year included the Citation X+ as well as the CJ3+, with both aircraft helping offset a decline in deliveries elsewhere. Overall, the company delivered 14 more aircraft than in the previous year, with a ramp up in Citation M2 deliveries also adding to the total.