New aircraft shipments continued to slip this year as declining sales were reported for the third quarter, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association said Thursday. For the year to date, airplane shipments worldwide are down 3.5 percent compared to a year ago, with 1,504 units shipped from January through September- down from 1,558 in 2015, according to the association’s latest report. The turboprop airplane category saw an uptick for the year to date with 379 shipments, up 1.5 percent from 2015. Meanwhile, business jet shipments fell 7.7 percent to 429 units and piston airplanes totaled 696 units, down about 3.2 percent from 719 units. The piston rotorcraft category continued to see steeper declines, with a nine-month shipment total down 17.6 percent from last year, and total piston rotorcraft shipments down by 15.3 percent with 446 units. The third quarter shows worldwide airplane shipments of 534 units and total billings of $4.12 billion, down from 542 units and $5.24 billion for the same period last year.
“There’s no way to sugarcoat the fact that these numbers are not what we had wanted to see,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. “Unfortunately, they reflect the instability of the used aircraft market coupled with complicating global economic and geopolitical factors. What is encouraging is that every GAMA airplane and rotorcraft manufacturer has a new product development program recently completed or currently underway, so optimism for the future runs high.” GAMA will continue its efforts in the coming year, with a new presidential administration, to “highlight the importance of a vibrant general and business aviation industry with manufacturing, maintenance, and overhaul jobs at its core,” Bunce said. “We also welcome a focus on making critical infrastructure investments, particularly airports and heliports, to support a safe and growing global aviation system. We stand ready to work with elected and appointed officials on policies that facilitate certification reform and product innovation, and improve the validation and acceptance of products worldwide.”