GAMA: Industry Billings Rise As GA Falls

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The General Aviation Manufacturers Association Thursday reported second-quarter shipment and billing figures that continue at a record-setting pace, without any help from the piston market. The industry as a whole showed a 24.1 percent increase for the first half of 2008 and totaled $12.1 billion, but was driven by an increase in worldwide bizjet and turboprop popularity. Total shipments on the lighter end of the scale (piston-powered aircraft) are down for 2008. GAMA, however, appears bullish on that segment of the industry: "The energy surrounding the entire spectrum of general aviation remains robust," according to the association's assessment. For the piston market, too, growth opportunities in the international market along with "innovative technologies" are at least generating "excitement," according to GAMA. So far, that excitement has not this year increased, or even maintained, the number of small plane shipments through the first two quarters of 2008. Actually, compared with last year's figures for the first two quarters, turboprop shipments are up nearly 20 percent and business jet shipments are up nearly 40 percent, while piston shipments are down nearly 16 percent to 1034 units ... excitement not withstanding.

For the industry as a whole, total billings for 2008 have so far reached $12.1 billion on 1919 shipments. That's 663 jets, 222 turboprops and 1034 piston aircraft. The results of a respectable showing at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh may have an impact on next quarter's numbers. We'll see...