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GAMA Says State of the Industry Remains a ‘Mixed Picture’

October 30, 2012

Caroline Daniels, chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), said the state of the industry remains a “mixed picture.” Daniels, along with GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce and NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen, shared their perspectives during NBAA2012’s Media Kickoff Breakfast on Oct. 30 in Orlando, FL.

Daniels had used the same term when GAMA issued its assessment of 2011 this past February, “and I think that as we close out the year at NBAA’s Convention, that assessment remains basically unchanged,” she said.

“This year we have seen continued growth in corporate profits and in global gross domestic product figures, which are both good signs for future shipments,” Daniels explained. “Flight hours have gradually been on the rise. And the international marketplace – particularly Asia and Latin America – continues to present opportunities for business aviation.

“That said, it’s clear the industry’s optimism is tempered, in part by marketplace trends,” Daniels continued. “After all, not all business aircraft types saw an increase in shipments and billings this year. And we think that trend points to an additional concern: the continuing lack of financing. We believe that there’s some pent-up demand, and if credit conditions were eased, we might see an impact on orders, shipments and billings.”

GAMA’s first half figures, the most recent numbers available, were promising. Airplane shipments increased 5.9 percent in the first six months of 2012 compared to 2011, while the accompanying value of the airplane deliveries rose 13.2 percent. GAMA’s President and CEO Pete Bunce said when the first-half numbers were released in August, “when coupled with the positive trend we are seeing in the used market, we may finally be witnessing the start of our recovery.”

But both GAMA and NBAA have significant concerns about the near-term future. “Of course, our concerns aren’t limited to the marketplace,” Daniels said. “We also know that some of the policy proposals coming from Washington and beyond have the potential to adversely impact the industry.”

For example, NBAA and GAMA are worried that sequestration and the pursuit by lawmakers to find new sources of revenue could revive interest in imposing general aviation user fees and lead to a new round of pejorative characterizations of business aviation.

“Unfortunately, such mischaracterizations, and the policies they’re associated with, have the potential to slow aircraft sales, reduce job growth and decelerate or halt a full economic turnaround of our vital and important industry,” declared Daniels.

GAMA and NBAA believe that continuing to project a positive image of the industry through the No Plane No Gain campaign is the best way to counteract the industry’s detractors.

“It is important the No Plane No Gain campaign remains fresh and relevant,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “It’s important that we continue to introduce new advocacy products, including new studies, new campaign advertisements, new ways to get visibility for our message and new resources for the industry to use.”

During the Media Kickoff Breakfast, the two associations unveiled a new study from NEXA Advisors that shows that the number of Fortune 500 companies that utilize business aviation actually grew during the Great Recession. In addition, a new series of six No Plane No Gain advertisements featuring the faces of people that use business aviation every day to succeed is being rolled out. Finally, the associations plan to tell the good news about business aviation in a 15-second spot that is part of a sponsorship of the PBS TV series The Aviators.

Learn more about No Plane No Gain.