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Thu, Feb 12, 2004

GAMA Looks To The Future of GA (With Hope)

Pistons Power General Aviation Shipments In 2003

One of my favorite "curses" goes something like "...may you live in interesting times." It can also, occasionally, be looked upon as a blessing. At the well-attended and exquisitely crafted 2004 GA outlook meeting in Washington, DC, GAMA's president Ed Bolen pronounced the 2003 aviation year as "A Challenging Year."

The day's brief revealed some pretty dismal numbers...Bizjet sales down 23.4% from the year before... employment down 10.3%, billings down 15.5%... all in all it was GA's worst showing since 1998.

About the best anyone could say for 2003 was that it was over... and much better times seemed to be on the horizon thanks to bonus depreciation allowances, better economic times, new and innovative airframes/avionics, and less used aircraft available on the market to compete with new aircraft sales.

But... if there was a silver lining in all this... it came from the single-engine GA community. GAMA announced that shipments of piston-engine airplanes increased 9.5 percent in 2003. The strong growth in the piston-engine market largely offsets a decline in shipments of turboprop airplanes and business jets, keeping total industry shipments essentially unchanged from the previous year at 2,686 units. Total industry billings, however, declined 15.5 percent to $9.99 billion.

According to GAMA Chairman Clay Jones, general aviation manufacturers believe “the impressive strength of the piston segment in 2003 is an early indicator of a broader turnaround in all segments of general aviation.”

Jones credited a provision in last year’s tax bill, commonly known as “bonus depreciation,” with stimulating many recent airplane orders. He said extending the provision, which is set to sunset at the end of this year, is GAMA’s top legislative priority.


YTD 2002 

YTD 2003 


Pistons  1,731 1,896 +9.5% 
Turboprops 280 272 -2.9%
Business Jets 676 518 -23.4%
Total Shipments 2,687 2,686 0.0%
Total Billings  $11.2B $9.99B  -15.5%


YTD 2002  YTD 2003 CHANGE 
Pistons  1,496 1,590 +6.3%
Turboprops  187  163  -12.8%
Business Jets  524   384  -26.7%
Total Shipments  2,207 2,137  -3.2% 
Total Billings  $7.72B $6.43B    -16.7%

ANN is preparing an analysis of the meeting's info and data for presentation over the next day or so... more info to come. GAMA is a trade association headquartered in Washington, DC representing approximately 50 manufacturers of general aviation aircraft, engines, avionics and related equipment worldwide. GAMA's members also operate fleets of aircraft, fixed based operations at many airports, and pilot training and maintenance training facilities.



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