GAMA: 2008 Piston Deliveries Down 20 Percent

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No surprise here: the 2008 year-end numbers, released on Tuesday by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, show that worldwide shipments of general aviation airplanes decreased for the first time in five years. The decline was wholly driven by the 20.8 percent drop in piston deliveries, down to 2,119 from 2,675 the year before. Turboprop deliveries grew 16.6 percent compared to 2007, and business jets were up by 15.6 percent. Overall, industry billings grew by 13.4 percent, to $24.8 billion. The positive numbers reflect the fulfillment of orders placed for turboprops and business jets during the strong economic years of 2006 and 2007, according to GAMA. All of the main piston manufacturers saw declines except for Piper, where deliveries increased from 221 in 2007 to 268 in 2008, driven by the popularity of the Matrix six-seat piston single. GAMA Chairman Mark Van Tine, president and CEO of Jeppesen, said despite current challenges, the industry is focused on the future. "The world's economy depends upon a robust air transportation system and general aviation is absolutely a vital component of that global system. Our industry's continued investment in research and development of new products is unprecedented," he said. "We have learned from history that investing smartly in our future and that of our customers is the best way to build our way out of tough economic times."

For more details, and a PDF of the complete report, go to the GAMA Web site.