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Piston and Turboprop Shipments Show Strong Growth, Jet Market Projects Upturn Next Year

August 14, 2013

General aviation (GA) shipments and billings worldwide showed strong but uneven increases throughout the first six months of 2013, according to new industry data, and revenue eclipsed $10 billion for the first time in five years.

In the first half of 2013, global GA airplane shipments rose 8.9 percent over the same six-month period last year, from 931 aircraft to 1,014, according to data released July 31 by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

Shipments of multi-engine turboprops posted strong gains compared to first-half 2012 sales, increasing 70.6 percent, from 34 to 58. Pistons were up more than 16 percent, from 392 to 455, and single-engine turboprops saw a slight 3.8 percent increase, from 210 to 218.

However, business jet shipments for the period fell a modest 4.1 percent, from 295 a year ago to 283, according to GAMA.

Review the GAMA General Aviation Airplane Shipment Report, 2013 Second Quarter.

"We are encouraged to see a strong increase in billings this quarter,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce, “but the mixed results in shipments, and the differences in performance among sectors, demonstrate that GA airplane manufacturers still face some strong headwinds as the global economy recovers.”

Industry research firm JETNET LLC statistics show demand for pre-owned business jets also softened during the first half of the year, falling 7.8 percent. Sales of pre-owned business jets also are taking longer, on average, compared to last year, the research group said.

Review JETNET’s June 2013 Pre-Owned Business Jet, Business Turboprop, Helicopter and Commercial Airliner Market Information.

Lower business jet shipments were a surprise, said Brian Foley, president of aviation industry market research firm Brian Foley Associates.

“Many people hoped that 2012 was the trough, but that doesn’t appear to be the case,” he said, while noting the increase in piston shipments was a pleasant surprise. “Pistons took a real jump. They’ve been down on their luck since 2007, so it’s nice to see the direction changing.”

In its most recent market research on the aerospace and defense sector, J.P. Morgan North America Equity Research cautioned that demand for jets remains weak despite rising corporate profits.

“Business jet demand has not recovered with corporate profits this time, however, as we estimate that 2013 U.S. corporate profits will be up [approximately] 50 percent from the 2008 trough, whereas bizjet deliveries have yet to turn up decisively,” J.P. Morgan analysts wrote in their Aug. 8 report.

But there is reason for optimism. Several manufacturers offered guidance to J. P. Morgan analysts indicating 2013 deliveries will exceed 2012 output. Dassault estimates business jet deliveries will increase from 66 last year to 70 this year, while Bombardier estimates deliveries will increase from 179 to 187, and Embraer estimates deliveries increasing from 99 to 108. Gulfstream estimates its 2013 deliveries will reach 142, up from 121 in 2012.

Beechcraft last month said it recorded a 75-percent increase in second-quarter aircraft deliveries over the same period a year ago, delivering 56 commercial and military aircraft, compared with 32 in the second quarter of 2012.

The International Bureau of Aviation last month predicted the global fleet of business jets will increase nearly 60 percent by 2025, from 19,700 to 30,750 aircraft.