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The Most Popular Business Jet in the U.S. May Not Be What You Think

It's not a Gulfstream or a Global. It's the humble very-light Cirrus Jet, a six-person aircraft with a bubble-like cabin and a parachute.

The Cirrus Jet is the best-selling business jet in the USA. Courtesy Cirrus

What’s the most popular business jet in America? Not iconic, bling-associated names like Gulfstream or Global. It’s actually a name most people don’t recognize: the very-light-jet Cirrus SF50, or Cirrus Jet, which had a whopping 90 deliveries in 2022. The Embraer Phenom 300/300E light-jet series, which had 61 deliveries last year, claimed second place.

Business jet deliveries were up for 2022 to 712 units, a modest increase of two jets compared to 2021, according to recent General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) data. The company showed overall data from 10 manufacturers, from mainstream biz-jet makers such as Bombardier, Gulfstream, Embraer, Textron, and Dassault to smaller more specialized firms such as Cirrus, Pilatus, and Honda Aircraft Company. For most of the larger brands, the report did not break down individual model shipments.

The Embraer Phenom 300 had the second-highest number of deliveries last year.
Embraer’s light-jet Phenom 300/300E had the second-highest number of deliveries last year. Courtesy Embraer

The report shows a general rebound in deliveries from the pandemic-induced nadir of 644 in 2020—the lowest number of deliveries in what some in private aviation call “the lost decade” from 2008 to 2018. Despite last year’s modest growth, deliveries still haven’t caught up to the 2019 high of 809.  

Among the “bizliners”—commercial jets modified to become personal or corporate aircraft—ACJ, a division of Airbus, had eight deliveries last year, while its main competitor, Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) had just two. Of course, those business jets were larger, wider, and more expensive compared to the rest of the industry.

Citation delivered 178 business jets in 2022.
Textron Aviation delivered 178 jets across its Citation line. The Citation Latitude above is the most popular. Courtesy Textron Aviation

Textron Aviation, maker of the range of Citation business jets, was the leading manufacturer by volume in 2022, with 178 units. Bombardier, with its Learjet (now discontinued), Challenger, and Global series, had 123 deliveries, with 50 alone in its Challenger 350/650 series and 70 in its large-body and ultra-long-range Global series. Gulfstream Aerospace had 120 deliveries in 2022, including 24 units in its 280 series and 96 in the rest of its mid-range and large-cabin body series. French company Dassault Aviation delivered 32 units across its product range. The report did not break out unit deliveries among these three competitors.

Among the specialty manufacturers, Honda Aircraft Company reported 17 deliveries of the HondaJet, while Pilatus delivered 40 units of its PC-24, and Cirrus delivered 90 units of the SF50.

Bizliners are modified commercial jets. They had the lowest delivery numbers in 2022.
No surprise that the largest and most lavish business jets, the modified commercial giants from Boeing and Airbus, had the fewest deliveries. Courtesy Boeing Business Jets

Following the big Cirrus and Phenom 300 numbers, the Citation Latitude had 42 deliveries, followed by the Citation M2 with 33 deliveries. The midsize and super-midsize categories showed the highest rate of growth last year, moving from 171 to 197 aircraft delivered.

Other aircraft types reported much larger numbers. In the piston-airplane category, 1,524 units were delivered last year, up 8 percent from 2021, and turboprop aircraft were up 10.4 percent to 482 units. The total value of delivered jets in 2022 across all categories amounts to a whopping $22.9 billion. GAMA will report first-quarter delivery numbers in May.

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