The word pedigree can mean a lot of different things in various contexts. For people who are into the breeding of animals, it has a very specific meaning. If we look at it under the lens of companies, there are still a few different traits that it can take. For example, in the technology industry, pedigree can refer to Apple’s 40-year history at the top of the pile. In the world of technology, 40 years is a very long time. On the other hand, in the world of automobiles, a manufacturer who is only 40 years old will be considered to be one of the newer entrants in the market. Mercedes has a history that is well over a hundred years old. A lot of the stalwarts of this industry can trace their roots all the way back to the industrial revolution. In terms of private aircraft, this is a similar story. Despite the fact that private aviation has only existed in its current form for perhaps the last 60 years or so, there is a rich history that almost all of these aircraft manufacturers share. Many of them find their roots in the first two world wars. In these wars, it was realized by generals on both sides that being able to add a whole new dimension of air into the war can completely change the whole dynamic.
This is why military tactics evolved to put air superiority at the top of the priority list. If your fleet can destroy their air defenses, you can essentially run riot over the enemy. The German Luftwaffe was able to absolutely wreak havoc at the start of the war and was instrumental in the early Nazi occupation. The only way the Nazis were ever defeated later on was when the Luftwaffe was beaten. Nations started to invest heavily into aeronautics and directly meant that there was a lot of money to be earned if you were able to introduce a level of innovation that no one else could to the mechanics of flying. War industry was set up as fast as possible and the whole of the world started to move into a world order that prioritized the air force. However, the moment the war ended, the industries that were set up specifically to service the war effort were rendered useless. What was the world supposed to do with all this extra material, industry, and ideas in the world of aviation? The answer was quite simple. Innovate to provide these same benefits to the consumer market.
This is where the private jet takes birth. Jets were used as air ambulances in order to get the injured out to hospitals. After all, time was of the essence. Who else regarded time with such importance? Important businessmen who needed to be all across the world and needed a lot of privacy in order to do so. The private jet was born. So, today we go through some of those most renowned private jet manufacturers.
Airbus Corporate Jets
Technically just a unit of the Airbus conglomerate, this particular company has been instrumental in providing private jet solutions to ultra-high net worth individuals and companies that need entire entourages to go on trips. Since 1997, ACJ has been producing large-sized business jets. These are jets that are used by leaders of the world such as Angela Merkel. In fact, these are some of the biggest private jets that money can buy. They have also the honor of producing perhaps the most expensive private jet in history. An Airbus A380 was ordered by Prince Al-Waleed and was quite literally the definition of ‘no expense spared’. However, the jet is shrouded in mystery as it has never been seen in person. It is said that the prince sold the jet to another party during a dispute between him and Forbes. It was supposed to be the most extravagant jet in history but as of right now, we have no idea where it is.
It is no secret that Aircraft heritage is very much intertwined with American history. If there was only one country that had the greatest role in advancing this industry, America would be it. Beechcraft Corporation is another marvelous example of that. Founded in 1932, there are many Hawker Beechcraft jets that grace the world of business jets, 9 to be completely accurate. Some are slightly smaller and can hold up to 5 people while the bigger ones can be considered a part of the midsize range as they can hold up to 12 people in certain configurations.
Boeing Business Jets
The quintessential rival to Airbus is Boeing. As a company, Boeing has been in the commercial aircraft business for over a century. In the 1990s, they decided to enter the large private jet market. Boeing produces some of the biggest jets in the world. Everyone has heard of the 777, 787, and 787. What Boeing Business Jets does is that it takes those same aircraft and turns them into business jets. Generally, these business jets will have a passenger capacity of about 50 people and the inside is more or less a fully-fledged home-cum-workspace. There are entire boardrooms, showers, and living areas inside these jets. These are made for companies and individuals who need to have a large staff transported at once. Another use is by sports teams who need to have their players and the supporting staff such as the physiotherapists inside the jet.
Bombardier Business Aircraft
Bombardier is a company that has its roots in the snowmobile business. Beyond that, they expanded into the rail business as well as aerospace in the 80s. They practiced a philosophy of acquiring very aggressively into the spaces they were looking to compete in. The biggest benefit of it is the fact that they gain a degree of vertical integration. This enables them to bring overall costs down and build a significant level of knowledge in each sector. Today, they are the third biggest aircraft manufacturer in the entire world. In fact, they have been making jets under the brand names Learjet, Challenger, and Global. Learjets are generally considered to be light aircraft known for their consistency. Challengers are midsize aircraft for the businessperson who needs a larger aircraft on the go. The Global collection is aptly named as they are jets that have been made to go around the whole world quite literally. They are some of the largest private aircraft that money can buy as well.
Dassault’s private aircraft have a certain advantage that’s rare to get. It is the fact that they have made some of the best fighter jets in the world. This means that they get to infuse the DNA of their fighter jets into their aircraft, giving them a unique feel. The company was founded in 1929 and has a really interesting history. The founder of Dassault, Marcel Bloch, was imprisoned by the Nazis in a concentration camp because he refused to work for them and handle their factories. It is said that the only time the Nazis ever complimented the French was when they saw a Dassault-made fighter aircraft. They realized that they needed the same to boost their Luftwaffe and decided to extend an offer to Marcel Bloch that essentially granted him his freedom in return for working for them. He is also credited as one of the few people in the entire world to realize the potential of commercial aircraft. This is evident in the letters he wrote to his colleagues during his detention in the Today, they have a foothold in the private aviation industry unlike any other. Their large jet, the Falcon 7X is nearly 80 feet long and its range is greater than 11,000 km, making it one of the truly ‘global’ jets in the industry.
Embraer Executive Jets
In competition with other jet makers on this list, Embraer came to the party a little late in 1969. However, they have made up for lost time very quickly by introducing revolutionary aircraft after aircraft. Originally, their main line of focus was on turboprops but they decided to make the switch to jets at the turn of the century. Today, they are the best-selling private aircraft manufacturer in the world. Their Phenom line is so popular around the world that it is considered to be the most popular private jet in the world. What is even more interesting is that they are from Brazil, while all the other makes on this list are from Europe or North America.
By many, Gulfstream is considered to be the last word when it comes to private jets. The oval-shaped windows are such an iconic feature that most Gulfstream jets can be easily spotted from afar. While other aircraft companies have a tendency to ignore most of the exterior and focus on what’s inside the jet, Gulfstream prioritizes both features and essentially makes the most handsome aircraft in the world. They have a long line of aircraft that go from smaller aircraft like the G280 to long-range jets like the G700. They also extract quite a premium as well, with the G700 coming in at about $78 million. Just the cabin of this massive aircraft is about 56 feet in length. Everything is outfitted with the absolute best in the industry, from the Rolls-Royce engines to the Symmetry Flight Deck. We would not be wrong for saying that if there ever was a king of the hill in the private jet industry, it would most likely be Gulfstream Aerospace.
If you have gone aboard a turboprop in order to learn how to pilot an aircraft, there is a good chance that it was Cessna. As a company, Cessna is more than just a manufacturer of metal parts. They symbolize the very essence of Americana. Cessna was found just before the time when American industry went into a downward spiral during the great depression in 1929. It was a decade-long ordeal that indirectly incorporated a level of strength into American business culture that can still be seen today. This is also true for Cessna. The Cessna Citation Excel is the most popular private jet in the US. It is quite easy to see why. A new list price of $13 million meant that Citation Excel is priced very competitively for what it is able to offer. In terms of light jets, the norm is about 6 or 7 people. Cessna is able to one-up that very easily and provide a jet that gives you a capacity of 10 people, with a crew of 2. The Citation is a light jet that has enough room in it to rival most midsize jets, which is indeed saying a lot.
The competition in the private jet space is simply vicious. There are manufacturers that have been producing these jets for the better part of a century which makes sure that any newcomer in the industry will think twice before entering. The financial crisis of 2007 meant that jet sales came down to a level that was unprecedented. As the internet got faster, there was no reason for corporate executives to charter an expensive jet when they could have the same meeting over a skype call. However, it is interesting to note that the market for jets has rebounded quite strongly after COVID-19, which means that these manufacturers will only work even harder for more profits.