GAMA Finds GA Sales "Far From Recovery"

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Sales of general aviation aircraft didn't drop as dramatically in the first quarter of this year as they did the year before, but nonetheless, sales are down by 15 percent overall compared to the first quarter of 2009, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reported on Monday. Worldwide, a total of 390 GA airplanes were delivered. "These numbers are being released on the heels of Europe's premier business aviation show, the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition [EBACE], where many of our manufacturers noted that the market seems to be stabilizing," said GAMA President Pete Bunce. "Reported flight activity from the FAA and Eurocontrol is on an upward trend and the used aircraft inventory is slowly decreasing. However, these first-quarter figures reveal that our industry is far from a recovery." Some GA manufacturers did report slight upticks in deliveries.

Cirrus Design, for example, rose from 39 to 53 deliveries, and Piper reported an increase from 22 in 1Q09 to 30 in the same period this year. Diamond saw a decline from 49 to 35. Cessna delivered 135 aircraft in 1Q09 and 80 in the latest quarter. The piston airplane segment overall was down 7.3 percent in the first quarter, with 166 units delivered, compared to 179 airplanes in the first three months of 2009. The turboprop segment delivered 60 units, down from 89 units during 1Q09, for a 32.6 percent decrease. Business jet shipments fell 14.1 percent in the first quarter with 164 airplanes delivered, compared to 191 in 1Q09. GAMA said the continuation of bonus depreciation will be crucial to help the industry increase production and bring back lost jobs. Bunce said, "We join with the rest of the manufacturing sector in calling upon the U.S. Congress to approve bonus depreciation for products ordered in 2010." The Obama administration has shown strong support for the initiative, he added. The complete 1Q10 report (PDF) and the 2009 report (PDF) are both posted online.