Results mixed for a key indicator of business jet sales

The North American market for business jets is improving, although weakness remains in some key indicators of new business jet sales, according to a new report by UBS Investment Research.

“We continue to believe that the largest bizjet market, North America, is improving, driven by replacement demand postponed during the downturn,” according to the report by UBS analyst David Strauss.

Business jet cycles – takeoffs and landings – were 2 percent higher in October than a year ago and better than in September, which experienced a decline, the report said.

Strauss estimates that cycles are up 24 percent from early 2009, which was the trough, although they’re still down 18 percent from a peak in mid-2007.

Among the six major business jet manufacturers, Dassault was the only one to see cycle improvement in October. Bombardier, Cessna Aircraft, Hawker Beechcraft and Embraer saw declines, while Gulfstream cycles were relatively flat, the report said.

Takeoffs and landings of long-range aircraft dropped 3 percent in October, while short- and mid-range aircraft cycles were down 2 percent each.

Analysts, manufacturers and others watch a variety of indicators, which include the number of takeoffs and landings, to predict demand for business jets.