Strong demand for helicopters and agricultural aircraft drove a slight increase in total shipments of new general aviation aircraft in 2012 according to figures recently released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).
International deliveries increasingly outpaced shipments to domestic customers signifying differences in the economic strength of the US domestic and overseas markets.
Shipments of fixed-wing aircraft rose 0.6 per cent in 2012 to 2,133 deliveries on the back of strong turboprop demand and the addition of agricultural aircraft to GAMA’s sales data in 2012. Deliveries of turboprop aircraft totalled 580 in 2012 compared to 526 year before. Growth in that segment was countered by generally flat levels in shipments of piston and turbine-powered airplanes.
2012 also marked the first time GAMA tracked deliveries of rotorcraft – whose numbers offered a notable bright spot for the industry. Some 328 helicopters were delivered in 2012, with shipments of piston-powered helicopters rising 22.4 per cent, single-turbine helicopters increasing 23.3 per cent, and shipments of multi-turbine helicopters rising 16.3 per cent over 2012 figures.
Shipments of business jets declined 3.4 per cent, from 696 to 672 units, while 881 piston-engine aircraft were delivered, a decline of 1.9 per cent over 2011.
GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said: “The current economic challenges and changing market dynamics have broad implications for the industry.
Meanwhile GAMA Chairman Brad Mottier noted future aircraft shipment forecasts may improve on the strength of new models now under development. “The 2012 numbers don’t reflect the amount of development work in progress in general aviation. The general aviation segment is poised for resurgence in the next few years as these new technologies certify and enter the market.”