New York: New data suggest that US aircraft makers are seeing a boom in aircraft sales on the back of higher corporate profits and growing demand for business jets and helicopters. Business jets, in particular, are experiencing record sales in 2007, as compared to a year ago, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. (GAMA).
GAMA is an international trade association headquartered in Washington, DC representing over 50 of the world's leading manufacturers of general aviation.
For the first six months of the year, aircraft makers sold 475 business jets, an increase of nearly 15% from the first six months of 2006, according to data from GAMA.
"The market has become so global that companies and individuals find they need a way to reach beyond their regions while avoiding airline hassles," a GAMA spokesperson said. "Globalization, greater corporate profits and rising individual wealth are all factors."
Aircraft firms, benefiting from the new demand, are seeing their share prices floating at seven-year highs.
According to GAMA, helicopters too have seen an increase in orders, with the oil industry coasting along on higher crude prices. Helicopters provide easy access to offshore platforms and other isolated outposts.
Typically, helicopters register annual sales of around 400 to 450. But sales have jumped to 600 to 650 a year recently, on the back of a 15% year-over-year growth rate. Half of this demand is coming from outside the US and, according to industry sources, sales could well ratchet up to 900 year a year by 2010-2011.