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GAMA: General Aviation Aircraft Deliveries Rose in 2013

Feb. 21, 2014

General aviation aircraft shipments rose across the board in 2013, but the increases varied widely by market segment, ranging from a less than 1-percent increase in business jet shipments to a more than 10-percent jump in turboprop shipments, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reported on Feb. 19.

Despite the modest 4.3-percent gain in total aircraft shipments, billings jumped 24 percent to $23.4 billion, the second-highest annual total since the U.S. economy fell into recession in 2008.

GAMA officials were pleased to report “all positive news,” with total airplane shipments climbing to 2,256 units in 2013, up from 2,164 in 2012. Piston-powered aircraft shipments increased 2.7 percent to 933 units from 908 units in 2012, and turboprop deliveries rose 10.4 percent to 645 units, up from 584 units the previous year. Business jet manufacturers delivered 678 aircraft last year, six more than in 2012.

But last year’s shipments remain far below 2008 levels, when the industry delivered nearly 4,000 new airplanes. Deliveries of piston-powered aircraft have remained below the 1,000 mark for five straight years. The 933 piston deliveries in 2013 represent about one-third the volume in 2006, when manufacturers shipped more than 2,700 new piston-powered airplanes. The 678 business jet deliveries in 2013 are about half the 2008 total of 1,313.

The 2013 jump in billings was fueled by increased delivery rates for several new business models, including the Gulfstream 650. Introduction of new light and medium jets are expected to boost shipments in 2014, according to GAMA.

“The industry’s positive numbers across all categories fuel cautious optimism as we move into 2014,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “The introduction of new products will be key to strong future growth, which is why GAMA continues to work with [aviation] authorities across the globe to streamline certification processes.”

During a press conference when the report was released, Bunce explained that the “burn rate” of research and development dollars soars when manufacturers cannot get new products certificated in a timely manner.

“Whether you take a small company or a large company... when you extend the certification process by months, and in some cases years, the barriers to entry for new companies to come into this marketplace, but also the barriers for investment for existing manufacturers, is daunting,” Bunce said. “And that’s money just going out the door when you can’t get through the certification process.”

He said that is why “one of our biggest initiatives is trying to work very hard with the FAA to streamline certification processes.”

Read GAMA’s full report.