Very Light Jet Snapshot
Sept. 28, 2009 – With the marketing hype largely subsided and deliveries averaging only
around 200 per year, the very light jet (VLJ) has yet to prove that
it’s anything more than a sub-compact business jet.
Sept. 28, 2009 – With the marketing hype largely subsided and deliveries averaging only around 200 per year, the very light jet (VLJ) has yet to prove that it’s anything more than a sub-compact business jet. “This is in contrast to a time when ‘revolutionary’ and ‘disruptive technology’ were industry buzzwords, and at least one now-defunct manufacturer had forecast its own yearly production numbers in the thousands,” notes Brian Foley Associates president Brian Foley.
Foley maintains that VLJs, though intentionally marketed as an entirely new, stand-alone product category, are actually nothing more than a downward market extension, analogous to business jets getting bigger on the top end of the product continuum. “We would submit that any claims to there being an “inventor” of the VLJ are without merit.”
Early on, established manufacturers distanced themselves from the hype and financial instability of some VLJ start-ups and instead referred to their own VLJ-like products as entry-level jets. “In retrospect that decision had foresight,” Foley says, “since the term VLJ was at times tainted by connotations of unrealistic expectations and even failure. The industry, including VLJ users such as air taxis, would do well to drop hyped words like ‘revolutionary’ from its vocabulary in order to improve credibility with end users.”
Future VLJ hopefuls, as with any business jet, will need not only an extensive worldwide sales and service network but a family of aircraft. This is what has made the newer Cessna Mustang and Embraer Phenom 100 VLJs the only shoo-ins thus far. Innovative products are welcomed by the industry and routinely precede adoption in others. “Contrary to what has been said, the industry won’t eat its young, but the market and unachievable business plans will.”