The General Aviation Manufacturers Association released the final 2020 numbers showing piston aircraft suffering a small loss of less than 1 percent compared to 2019, while business jets and piston helicopters both fell by more than 20 percent. Other sectors were down as well, resulting in a drop of just under 10 percent for fixed-wing aircraft as a group, and a reduction of 16.2 percent for helicopters in 2020. In terms of dollars, GAMA says that “deliveries reached a value of $22.8 billion, a decrease compared to $27.8 billion in 2019.”
“As expected, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted general aviation and stifled the industry’s growth. While we continue to face headwinds globally, all signs point to strong demand for our products and services that are unfortunately being constrained by pandemic induced supply chain limitations and a vast array of disjointed barriers to air travel across national borders. As we progress through the recovery process, our member companies have made the health and safety of their employees and that of their suppliers an overarching priority, and rigorously support economic policies that preserve our skilled aerospace workforce,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “It is encouraging to see that segments of our industry saw a solid rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020. In 2021, it will be important for the general aviation industry to work together with our commercial sector colleagues to keep our interlinked but very fragile supply chain secure, while continuing to engage global regulatory authorities to leverage their mutually recognized safety competencies to keep pace with accelerating technological innovations that improve aviation safety and environmental sustainability and facilitate industry recovery.”
In piston aircraft, Cirrus once again held the lead, producing 420 aircraft in 2020 after picking up the pace in each of the last two quarters of the year; the SR22T is the volume leader, with 184 sold last year. After a rough first quarter, Piper recovered to sell 244 aircraft in 2020, led by the Archer III at 149 units. Diamond Aircraft picked up speed in the fourth quarter to finish with 239 deliveries overall, led by the DA40 (143 units) and DA42 (62). Textron, as a business unit, sold 559 aircraft, with the Skyhawk (241) and Grand Caravan (43) the best-selling models.