Gulfstream says business jet market recovering

BANGALORE Tue Feb 8, 2011 10:18am EST

BANGALORE (Reuters) - General Dynamics Corp's (GD.N) Gulfstream unit said the global business jet market was recovering nicely, particularly outside of North America led by long-range jets.

"The demand for long-range jets remains robust because of the rapid expansion of global business ties," Roger Sperry, Gulfstream's senior vice president, international sales, said at a media briefing ahead of the biennial Indian air show in the southern city of Bangalore.

The show takes off against a backdrop of stepped-up arms spending and rapid growth in civil aviation in Asia's third-largest economy.

The business jet market took a hard landing in 2009, when demand tumbled after five years of annual delivery increases as companies clamped down on spending in the uncertain economy.

Savannah, Georgia-based Gulfstream expects to produce 90 large-cabin jets and 15-20 mid-cabin jets in 2011, compared with the mid-90s it produced in 2010.

The large-cabin aircraft market recovered from the economic crisis sooner than the mid-cabin market, and is back at pre-recession levels, Sperry said.

Sperry was also very optimistic about growth opportunities in India citing the growing number of high-net-worth individuals and rapid economic growth.

Demand is being driven by increasing affluence in the economy, which is expected to grow 8.6 percent in the year ending in March.

However, business jet penetration in India still remains relatively low -- the country has an installed base of 125 aircraft. Gulfstream has about 20 aircraft in service in India.

The Indian business jet fleet is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 13 percent over the next 10 years, and 325 deliveries are expected throughout the next 10 years, according to market forecast by Bombardier (BBDb.TO).

(Reporting by A.Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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