GAMA Report: Aircraft Shipments Drop In 2015

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General aviation manufacturing saw declines in the overall market worldwide as shipments for airplanes are reported down for 2015 over the previous year, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association reported Wednesday (PDF). Airplane shipments declined 4.6 percent, from 2,376 units in 2014 to 2,267 units in 2015. GA airplane billings also are down 4 percent with $20.9 billion reported for 2015 compared to $21.8 billion in 2014. Piston airplane shipments are down for the first time since 2010 with a 6.5 percent drop to 1,056 units reported last year. The rotorcraft sector saw mixed results. GAMA reported that shipments of piston helicopters are up 8.6 percent, from 257 units in 2014 to 279 units in 2015.  Meanwhile, turbine helicopter shipments saw an 8.9 percent drop to 675 units in 2015, from 741 units in 2014. Total rotorcraft shipments fell 4.4 percent.

U.S.-made airplane shipments remained fairly steady last year in the piston and business-jet categories. Piston shipments totaled 783 units, compared to 788 in 2014. There were 378 jets shipped, up slightly from 375 the year before. Turboprop shipments came in at 420, down from 468 the year before. Totals for all U.S. airplanes were 1,581 in 2015, down from 1,631 in 2014. Pete Bunce, GAMA president and CEO, said in Wednesday's announcement that factors affecting the markets include "plummeting energy sector revenue, economic uncertainty, and currency fluctuations in key GA markets such as Brazil, Europe, Russia, and China." He noted that pending FAA reauthorization legislation offers measures that would help boost GA manufacturing and services. The House version of the bill introduced this month proposes forming an advisory panel to reform certification while collaborating with industry. "Given the relative strength of the North American GA market, it is particularly important that the U.S. Congress proceed quickly to pass an FAA reauthorization bill that contains certification streamlining and other regulatory reforms that allow manufacturers and repair/overhaul organizations to deliver products more efficiently and make the FAA workforce more productive," he said. "In fact, with both the U.S. and Europe looking to revise the rules governing their leading safety authorities, we are at a unique moment that brings with it opportunities and challenges in areas such as leveraging resources, certification efficiency, and better regulation for GA."