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25 CHAPTER 4 Conclusions Estimation of Projected instead. On the other hand, the analysis indicates that sales of Fleet Changes VLJs (and low-cost piston aircraft) for air taxi use are likely to displace automobile and commercial air traffic, leading to Table 22 provides summary estimates of the projected fleet substantial increases in activity at certain airports that can changes from this analysis. The sales forecast for the GA seg- handle large numbers of the new air taxi services. But overall, ment projects that approximately 1,650 VLJs may be sold for the projected increase in operations by 2017 at VLJ-ready air- use in the United States by 2012; by 2017, this total is projected ports relative to 2007 is relatively modest, on the order of 6%. to grow to around 3,500. The air taxi forecast, which is more speculative, projects 751 VLJs by 2012 plus more than 400 new Comparison with Other low-cost piston aircraft that may be used for air taxi services. Fleet Forecasts By 2017, the cumulative air taxi VLJ fleet may total more than 1,300, with about half that number added to the air taxi pis- Even as stated, the total VLJ fleet projections are somewhat ton fleet. lower than some other forecasts that have been published in These projections are subject to a large degree of uncer- the last one to two years, but this is not surprising given recent tainty, and the forecasts were completed prior to very re- events. Overall it is believed that the VLJ market will grow over cent industry developments including the bankruptcies of the next few years, albeit somewhat more slowly than the opti- an important air taxi provider and VLJ manufacturer. mistic projections forecasted by others. A comparison of fore- The overall level of activity at small airports is not likely to casts is shown in Table 23; it is important to keep in mind that be affected significantly by VLJs that are purchased for tradi- a substantial portion of the observed variations may be due to tional GA because their main effect will be a simple displace- differences in geographic coverage (United States only versus ment of sales that would have gone to other small GA aircraft worldwide). Table 22. Projected cumulative U.S. fleet additions of small GA aircraft from 2007.* 2012 2017 GA Use - Total 11,279 25,179 VLJ 1,647 3,547 Other 9,632 21,632 Air Taxi Use - Total 1,188 1,967 Piston 411 593 Turboprop 13 31 Light Jet 12 39 VLJ 751 1,305 VLJ Total 2,398 4,852 *Note: Figures and percentages may not add to totals due to rounding.
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26 Table 23. Comparison with other VLJ fleet forecasts. Source Issue Date 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000 10000 US Only thru 2017 Current Analysis Nov 2008 GA 3547 AirTaxi 1305 Worldwide thru 2017 Forecast International Sep 2008 5600 US Only thru 2025 FAA Mar 2008 4500-5000 prorated thru 2017 Worldwide thru 2017 Embraer Nov 2007 GA 3380 AirTaxi 3950 Worldwide thru 2016 PMI-Media Sep 2007 7650 Worldwide thru 2017 Honeywell Aerospace Sep 2007 9800