GAMA Numbers Show 'One Of The Toughest Years Ever'
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced on Tuesday that 2009 worldwide shipments and billings of general aviation airplanes were down in all categories. GAMA Chairman Rob Wilson, president of Honeywell Business and General Aviation, said it was one of the toughest years ever for GA manufacturers. "The worldwide economic crisis, which included major constraints on credit, cutbacks in flying hours, and downsizing and divestiture of business jet fleets, forced manufacturers to take difficult steps in 2009," Wilson said, at the annual industry review and market outlook briefing, held in Washington, D.C . "General aviation manufacturers had no choice but to cut production and announce painful layoffs and furloughs," he said. Industry billings dipped to $19.5 billion, a 21.4 percent decrease from the 2008 record high of $24.8 billion, but still the third highest year ever. Worldwide shipments of GA airplanes declined for a second year in a row with a total of 2,276 units delivered, a 42.6-percent decrease over the 2008 total of 3,967 airplanes. The piston airplane segment experienced the greatest decline at 54.5 percent. Shipments totaled 965 piston airplanes in 2009, compared to 2,119 the year before. Wilson added, however, that there are some hopeful signs the worst of the economic crisis may be over.
"The inventory of used aircraft has peaked and is now declining, flying hours are on the rise, and inquiries for new orders are beginning to grow again," he said. Markets outside North America are still expanding. "While these positive factors give us reason for optimism, we know that a full recovery will take time," Wilson said. In other GA sectors, turboprops proved most successful in weathering the economic storm, showing a decline of 17.6 percent. In 2009, 441 turboprops were shipped, down from 535 units in 2008. After five years of growth, the business jet sector declined 33.7 percent with 870 airplanes shipped, compared to the previous year's figure of 1,313 airplanes. More details from the report can be found at GAMA's Web site.