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Tailwinds slow China business jet sales

Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 01:40

Chinese demand for business jets is slowing as its economy weakens, with customers also choosing smaller and shorter-range aircraft. As Sonia Legg reports, the news from the Singapore Airshow comes a day after Bombardier - the world's biggest private jet maker - announced it was axing 7,000 jobs worldwide.

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They're perhaps the ultimate symbol of success. But that means the private jet industry is vulnerable. At Singapore's Airshow private planemakers are well aware China's economy is weakening. Data from Embraer shows China's fleet grew by 6.5 percent in 2015 - that's the slowest rate for 10 years. Claudio Camelier is Vice President of Marketing and sales (SOUNDBITE) (English) CLAUDIO CAMELIER, VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING AND SALES, MIDDLE EAST AND ASIA PACIFIC, AT EMBRAER EXECUTIVE JETS, SAYING: "In the past, customers would simply buy the biggest and best airplane out there. I would say that nowadays they are more focused in really identifying, ok, what is the best airplane for their particular mission, what's the airplane that will serve them better." Bombardier is also finding the economic environment tough. The Canadian planemaker is axing around 7,000 jobs after its 2016 revenue forecasts fell short of analyst estimates by around 1 billion dollars. James Bevan is from CCLA. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CCLA, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, JAMES BEVAN, SAYING: "I worry that it has hit almost a perfect storm in terms of the global economic slowdown, against that backcloth, reductions in job numbers I fear are inevitable." But many in the industry are optimistic about the longer term outlook. David Dixon is President of JetCraft Asia, a business jet brokerage. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DAVID DIXON, PRESIDENT OF JETCRAFT ASIA, SAYING: "China's moving into Africa, it's moving into South America, those are a long way away from here and they are not traditional areas of ease of travel. You look at what China is doing in southern Africa, some of its investments in minerals, agriculture, things like that, you'll find the only way to get there is to have a private airplane." One other key factor may help too - oil prices look set to remain low for some time.

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Tailwinds slow China business jet sales

Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 01:40