General aviation aircraft shipments fell 2.1 per cent while billings tumbled eight per cent during the first quarter of 2012, according to figures released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).
Piston-powered aircraft shipments fell from 188 in the first quarter of 2011 to 184 this year while business jet shipments fell from 128 to 122 and turboprop shipments rose from 61 to 63. Total shipments stood at 369 aeroplanes against 377 last year.
Billings fell from US$3.68 billion to US$3.39 billion.
“The first quarter shipment data shows mixed performance across the segments,” GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce said in a statement. “Our continuing concern is the lack of available financing around the world.”
Bunce renewed calls for the US Congress to reauthorise the Export-Import Bank, which guarantees loans made to foreign buyers of American export goods such as aeroplanes. Reauthorisation of the federally-funded bank has been held up by Republicans who argue that it distorts free markets.