GA Deliveries Decline 41 Percent In First Quarter
Shipments of general aviation aircraft fell by 41 percent in the first three months of 2009, compared to the same period a year ago, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association said on Tuesday. "This is an extremely difficult time for our industry," said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. "We are dealing first and foremost with the severe negative effects of a worldwide economic downturn, but also with unwarranted criticism focused on the industry. The result has been the cancellation of orders for new airplanes and the loss of more than 15,000 high-paying jobs for American workers over the last several months." The piston segment was down 55 percent in the first quarter, with 179 airplanes delivered, compared to 399 in the first three months of 2008. Business jet shipments fell 36 percent, with 191 deliveries, compared to 297 in the first quarter of 2008. The turboprop segment was the only bright spot, showing a 3 percent increase, with 92 units delivered, up from 89 a year ago. A total of 462 GA airplanes were delivered, and industry billings totaled $4.34 billion, down 18 percent.
But while the numbers may seem grim, the industry has always been somewhat volatile, and a look back in the GAMA records shows the last time total deliveries sank this low was not that long ago -- in the first quarter of 2004. Growth trended upward each year from 2004 to 2007. Bunce said on Tuesday that the U.S. general aviation industry leads the world in innovation, and is one of the few U.S. industries that maintains a positive balance of trade. "We will continue to work with governments around the world to recognize that general aviation can play a key role in propelling the economic recovery," he said. Click here for the full text of GAMA's report.