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Report On Business Bombardier cuts 10-year forecast for business jet demand

A Bombardier Aerospace Challenger 300 business jet.

Bombardier

Bombardier Inc. has revised downwards its annual 10-year forecast for business-jet demand.

The Montreal-based plane and train maker's private-jet division predicts up to 8,300 new business jet deliveries, representing a total value of about $250-billion (U.S.), between 2016 and 2025, in the segments in which it competes.

That compares with last year's forecast of 9,000 deliveries representing a total value of about $267-billion.

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The company said in a news release Tuesday that "significant growth is expected in the long term, with larger aircraft continuing to dominate the market.

"As growth eventually returns in emerging regions, Bombardier is confident the business jet market will pick up as the popularity of private aviation continues to increase every year."

Demand for business jets has fallen over the past several years amid sluggish or patchy economic growth around the world.

Corporate jets have traditionally served as a cash cow for Bombardier; sales of its Learjet, Challenger and Global families of business jets helped finance a big chunk of the company's costly C Series single-aisle commercial jet.

But Bombardier had to freeze development of its new Learjet 85 and delay two longer-range versions of its larger Global planes after experiencing a cash crunch related in part to problems with the C Series.

In its latest forecast, Bombardier Business Aircraft said North America is expected to account for the greatest number of new deliveries in the 2016-25 period, with 3,930 planes, followed by Europe with 1,530 units.

Desjardins Securities analyst Benoit Poirier said in a research note Tuesday that the 8-per-cent decline in Bombardier's forecast "comes mainly from emerging markets, such as China (700 units vs 875 previously), Latin America (790 vs 850), the Middle East (350 vs 400) and South Asia (200 vs 310)," while North America and Europe remain stable.

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"Overall, we view this announcement as a negative even though it was somewhat expected, as it echoes the cautious comments by several industry participants over the past year with regard to weakness in emerging markets," he said.

The weakness could lead Bombardier to reduce the pace of its business-jet production to support pricing, Mr. Poirier said.

The company's latest forecast comes one day after it confirmed that fractional jet-ownership company Flexjet LLC is the previously undisclosed customer for 20 "super-midsized" Challenger 350 business jets.

The order – which is in addition to a 2013 order for 20 Challenger 350s – was announced on April 1 and is valued at about $534-million based on 2016 list prices for standard-equipped aircraft.

"Officially doubling our order will enable us to meet the increase in demand we are seeing from our Owners and provide a solid platform for future growth," Flexjet chief executive officer Michael Silvestro said.

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