Las Vegas is the preferred destination for conference delegates for the obvious entertainments that the infamous city provides. Vegas was the destination for this year's National Business Aviation Association ("NBAA") conference, but despite this, the numbers of delegates and attendees did not meet expectations with only 175 more people attending compared with 2012. However, it was agreed that those that attended included a good number of buyers, flight departments and decision makers.
There were a number of highlights at the conference, namely:-
- The launch of Dassault's Falcon 5X. The aircraft has a list price of $45 million and is set for delivery in 2017. The wide cabin and skylight, innovative wing and other technological developments coupled with being capable to fly non-stop from LA to London or Paris to Hong Kong and coming with a 12 year warranty makes for an exciting addition to the business jet fleet.
- Kenny Dichter (who created Marquis Jet) launched his new membership based private aviation company, Wheels Up. Dichter took the keys to the first of up to 105 Beechcraft King Air 305i aircraft that Wheels Up has ordered. The company is expecting to take delivery of 8 more King Air 305i this year and 35 by 2015 (with an option for 70 more) making it the largest general aviation propeller-driven airplane order in history. By the end of the year, Dichter and Wheels Up expects to have more than 300 members and between 1,500 – 2000 by the end of 2014 (30% - 35% more than his original business plan).
- Buoyed by the orders from Wheels Up, Beechcraft announced that in the first 9 months of 2013 it delivered 163 aircraft, this is up from 111 for the same period in 2012 (a 47% increase).
- Bombardier announced that it has received an order from Flexjet for an additional 30 of its Learjet 85 business jets, thereby doubling its original order, for a total deal value of approximately $1.2 billion (at 2013 list prices).
- However, it was not all positive, as Cessna announced its 3rd quarter results, which were very poor. They delivered 25 fewer jets and were down $185 million on the same quarter in 2012. They did look to put a positive spin on this as they stated that they see a strong recovery in the market by 2015 and estimate that they will deliver 248 business jets by then.
It will be interesting to see if the same positive outlook for the business aviation industry is reflected at the next major industry event, the Corporate Jet Investor Conference in February 2014. If you are attending this event and would like to learn more about the Isle of Man's award winning Aircraft Registry or the advantages of structuring your aviation business through the Isle of Man, please contact our specialist aviation lawyers Stephen Dougherty or Tom Maher who will be attending.
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