Bucking long-term trends, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s first-quarter data shows a 6.3% increase in sales of piston airplanes over the same quarter in 2016. The allocation of sales within the piston market was mostly unremarkable, though Cessna had real gains, shipping 41 piston singles compared to 27 for the prior year period. Although total GA shipments were up compared to Q1 2016, billings were down over 10%, reflecting mostly a softening in the large business jet market. Most of that decrease can be attributed to Bombardier alone, whose sales decline of $270 million was more than most manufacturers’ total revenue. Two-thirds of all GA aircraft sales dollars in Q1 2017 went to either Bombardier or Gulfstream.
“The first quarter shows mixed results for our industry, but with several bright spots,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “We expect future growth to be driven by the introduction of new products, which underscores just how important it is for the U.S. Congress to pass certification reform legislation to facilitate the future of aviation manufacturing, something GAMA board members and representatives explained when they were talking to legislators earlier this month during the largest ever GAMA Capitol Hill Day.”