UPDATE 1-Textron expects business jet orders to pick up in 2021 -CEO

(Adds quote from CEO, reference to Gulfstream and Bombardier, stock price)

July 30 (Reuters) - Textron expects business jet order activity to pick up in 2021 after a coronavirus-linked hit to demand, as private flights rebound and corporate America restarts capex commitments, Chief Executive Scott Donnelly said on Thursday.

Executives and forecasters are seeing a rise in demand for business jet flights this summer due to demand from new private jet passengers, a pick-up in leisure trips and easing European travel restrictions.

Textron, which also makes Bell helicopters and recreational side-by-side and all-terrain vehicles, isn’t seeing a cancellation of existing aircraft orders.

Business jet deliveries, however, slumped 50% to 23 planes in the second quarter ended July 4.

“The customers that were in our backlog have stayed in our backlog,” Donnelly told analysts. “And now we’re seeing that improve as demand comes back into the marketplace.”

General Dynamics Corp, said on Wednesday it is seeing the appearance of an increase in demand for its Gulfstream corporate planes. Rival business jet maker Bombardier Inc. reports earnings on Aug. 6.

Donnelly said Textron was seeing more sales activity for turboprops and light jets, but added he expects to see the company’s backlog for larger aircraft from Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s NetJets, a key customer, pick up during the back half of the year.

Textron expects aviation deliveries to be down by between 30% and 40% in 2020, although deliveries would increase in the second half of the year on a sequential basis.

Textron stock rose 4.8% in morning trading.

Reporting by Allison Lampert and Ankit Ajmera; Editing by Bernadette Baum