Airplane Sales Up (Economy Is Up?) ... Finally

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GAMA Figures Indicate Recovery...

Finally, there's some evidence the long-anticipated (and, perhaps, optimistically forecast) recovery in the aviation industry may have begun. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association's (GAMA's) first-quarter delivery and billing stats show healthy increases on both sides of the ledger for the full range of GA aircraft. Some cautious observers may be quick to point out that figures for last year were so deeply in the tank that these hopeful signs should be put in perspective. However, improvement is improvement and GAMA's figures do point to an overall 21.1-percent increase in billings and 9.7-percent increase in shipments over the first quarter of 2003. Perhaps the most significant figure in the report is the jump in bizjet sales. They went up to 115 from 101 (13.9 percent) worldwide, perhaps suggesting that corporations are loosening the purse strings in anticipation of a general economic recovery. Piston sales, which were the only bright spot in the 2003 figures, maintained a reasonable growth rate with an increase of 9.1 percent to 394 shipments (only six were twins) in the first quarter of 2004, from 361 in the first three months of 2003. Turboprop sales increased by just one delivery from 31 to 32 (3.2 percent).