GAMA: No Turnaround In 2010, But Maybe This Year

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The General Aviation Manufacturers Association released its annual industry report (PDF) on Tuesday, showing that aircraft deliveries continued to fall in 2010 despite improvements in the global and U.S. economies. Deliveries of GA aircraft fell by 11.4 percent overall in 2010 compared to the year before. Piston deliveries were down by 7.7 percent, from 963 units to 889; turboprops declined 17.7 percent, from 441 units to 363; and business jets fell from 870 deliveries in 2009 to 763 last year, a drop of 12.3 percent. John Rosanvallon, CEO of Dassault Falcon Jet and chairman of GAMA, said shipments traditionally lag an economic recovery by one to two years, and signs are good for the industry to start a rebound in 2011.

Among the positive signs, Rosanvallon said, flight activity is recovering, tax policies are favorable, and corporate profits were up 26 percent last year, which usually indicates a willingness to spend is imminent. However, credit scarcity continues to be an issue, and an excess of aircraft in the used market at depressed prices continues to affect new sales. In the GA piston/turboprop sector, Piper Aircraft showed signs of recovery, citing increased sales globally. In 2010, Piper delivered 160 new aircraft, an increase of 75 percent over 90 deliveries in 2009. In the same turboprop/piston sector, Cessna delivered 451 aircraft in 2009 and 334 in 2010. Cirrus stayed close to level in piston deliveries, with 264 in 2009 and 266 in 2010. Pete Bunce, CEO of GAMA, said advocacy groups are working on several fronts to improve the outlook for GA, including efforts to improve flight training and rewrite Part 23 rules to bring down the cost of aircraft. He added that GAMA is closely watching the FAA reauthorization bill as it continues to move through House committees to ensure that a "greater regulatory burden" doesn't creep into the legislation. And on March 21, GAMA and other industry groups will host Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in Wichita, Kan., for a "GA Jobs Rally" in support of manufacturers.