We thought that the presser that Piper conducted at NBAA 2008
might hold a few clues as to their future and that, combined with
other interview material, might make for an interesting overview as
a revitalized Piper heads into 2009. Jim Bass, President of Piper
Aircraft announced during the 2008 NBAA Convention that, against
declining industry-wide sales of piston aircraft, Piper's piston
sales were up through the 3rd quarter of '08.
At a time when General Aviation’s overall piston-aircraft
deliveries are down, Piper Aircraft underscored its comparative
string of successes by noting that its piston aircraft deliveries
were up 24 percent for the 3rd Quarter of 2008. The company also
that announced overall deliveries for the first nine months of 2008
were up 18 percent over the same period last year, and that its
upline PA-46 models are registering record deliveries.
"In the last three years, Piper has moved forward on virtually
every front -- from new product introductions to strong sales, from
strategic alliances to breaking into an entirely new segment with
our all-new PiperJet," said Piper President & CEO James K.
Bass. "We are a modern-day, American success story: a company that
relies on American workers to provide the next generation aircraft
for the world."
Piper’s current piston increases are driven by the
unparalleled -- and, for some, unexpected -- success of its
cabin-class Piper Matrix, a decontented model off the Malibu Mirage
platform. It appears Piper correctly predicted the market for an
the unpressurized, six-seat aircraft... as to date, the model has
accounted for close to half of the company's 195 aircraft
deliveries in the first nine months of 2008.
That number compares favorably against the 166 aircraft Piper
delivered over the same period in 2007. Of that total, 76 were from
deliveries of the Piper Matrix. The Vero Beach, FL-based planemaker
also reported sales of its entire PA-46 model line (Meridian,
Mirage and Matrix) were at record levels as 2008 came to a
"We have orders for 101 Matrix models this year," Bass said.
"The Piper Matrix fills a niche in the market that hasn't been
truly addressed until now. To date, our entire first year of
production is sold out and market demand continues to be very
strong. At the same time, deliveries of our flagship turboprop, the
Piper Meridian, continue unabated, with 33 aircraft for the first
nine of this year and an expected 53 deliveries in total for 2008.
These deliveries have continued at the same strong levels as those
In all, Piper recorded $150.5 million in billings in the first
nine months of 2008, compared with $125 million in billings for the
same period in 2007. It also puts the company on a favorable
footing as it prepares to bring its first-ever turbofan-powered
aircraft to market.
"With first flight of the PiperJet, Piper Aircraft marked the
beginning of a new era by literally taking flight into a whole new
realm of large-cabin luxury, performance, capability and
single-engine efficiencies," said Bass. "The PiperJet speaks to our
future -- one that is built on a strong and lasting heritage and
reputation for innovation and excellence."
Bass termed Piper's achievements during the past three years as
an index of the company's success, and key to its rejuvenation
since a hurricane nearly leveled the company in 2004.
"We are... a new company fueled by a venerable heritage," he
said. "We know where we've been and what milestones we have
accomplished. And we know where we're going. We truly are the
inheritors of a great legacy, and we are inspired by the knowledge
that our best days are ahead of us."