As expected, the General Aviation Manufacturer’s Association (GAMA) has confirmed that total shipments for GA and business aircraft saw a major decline during 2009 as the global economic crisis savaged the markets for piston aircraft and business jets.
Total unit shipments were down by 42.6 per cent compared to 2008, with only 2276 aircraft delivered over the year. The biggest fall was in the piston market, which registered a 54.5 per cent fall in deliveries, followed by business jets (-33.7 per cent) and turboprops (-17.6 per cent). As a result of the lower shipments and some discounting, total industry billings declined by 21.4 per cent to US$19.5bn (A$21.7bn), although it was still the third highest year on record.
“The worldwide economic crisis, which included major constraints on credit, cutbacks in flying hours, and downsizing and divestiture of business jet fleets, forced manufacturers to take difficult steps in 2009,” said GAMA chairman Rob Wilson. “General aviation manufacturers had no choice but to cut production and announce painful layoffs and furloughs.”
However, Wilson pointed to some signs that the market is improving with used aircraft inventories now declining and inquiries for new orders beginning to grow again, while the market is also starting to move more towards outside of North America. “While these positive factors give us reason for optimism, we know that a full recovery will take time. Our manufacturers continue to plan and invest for future growth and we are confident that our industry will remain a powerful engine for economic recovery and quality job creation around the world,” he said.