Turbine Numbers Increase, But Pistons Continue Slump
On Thursday, the General Aviation
Manufacturers Association announced first quarter shipment and
billings figures. Total industry billings were up 16.1 percent to
$5.3 billion, an all-time high for the first quarter, while total
shipments were down by 7.5 percent... including a 28 percent slump
in deliveries of piston aircraft.
"This past quarter's overall industry billings remain
impressive, with the turbine segments showing dramatic increases.
The trend of increasing market share occurring outside of North
America continues for most manufacturers. It is apparent, however,
that current uncertainty in the US economy is having an affect on
some of the offerings in the piston spectrum of aircraft," said
Pete Bunce, GAMA president and CEO. "Last year, 67 percent of
piston deliveries were to the North American market, making this
segment the most susceptible to softness in the US economy.
However, as worldwide markets continue to expand, we see more
capability to insulate manufacturers from the economic dynamics of
any one specific region."
Piston-powered airplane shipments totaled 399 units compared to
554 units delivered in the first quarter of 2007. Turboprop
shipments increased from 79 units in the first quarter last year to
85 units in 2008. Business jet shipments totaled 297 units in the
first quarter of 2008, a remarkable 40.8 percent increase over the
211 units delivered in the first quarter of 2007.
Despite the discouraging downturn in piston aircraft deliveries,
GAMA Chairman -- and Chairman and CEO of Cirrus Design Corporation
-- Alan Klapmeier said recent government action could result in an
"Customers have told our manufacturers that bonus depreciation,
made part of the US economic stimulus package in February, is
generating new sales within the piston segment," Klapmeier said.
"Although the provision applies to both piston and turbine engine
aircraft, we believe that in light of current backlog, the piston
manufacturers will benefit more proportionately because bonus
depreciation applies to purchases made in 2008 with delivery in
2008 or 2009.
"GAMA supported the inclusion of this provision in the stimulus
bill and we thank the President and Congress for recognizing the
important boost this legislation can give to our customers,
manufacturers and all the economies affected by this dynamic
industry," Klapmeier added.