May-June 2006 On The Radar
In 2005, the general aviation industry hit $15.1 billion in billings, an all-time high and a 27.2% increase over 2004. The good news came from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) at their annual Industry Review & 2006 Market Outlook Briefing. GAMA (www.gama.aero) figures put worldwide shipments of general aviation airplanes at 3,580 units for 2005, up 20.8% from the previous year’s total of 2,963 units.
“The outstanding 2005 shipment and billing figures demonstrate that general aviation is one of the brightest and most promising sectors of manufacturing,” said Pete Bunce, GAMA’s chief executive officer.
All sectors of general aviation manufacturing experienced healthy growth in 2005. Piston airplane shipments experienced a 20.2% increase over the previous year. Total units increased from 2,051 in 2004 to 2,465 airplanes in 2005. Shipments of turboprops increased by 13.7%, up from 321 units in 2004 to 365 units in 2005. Additionally, business jet shipments increased by 159 units to a total of 750 airplanes—a 26.9% increase in shipments over 2004.
“Our growth shows that general aviation continues to have a dramatic impact on the way the world does business,” said Bunce. “As the worldwide economy expands and becomes progressively interdependent, general aviation will play an ever-increasing role in making business soar.”
GAMA President Jack Pelton also addressed industry officials at the Washington Aero Club (www.aeroclub.org), outlining the following series of so-called “myths” about the FAA (www.faa.gov) as well as a variety of potential schemes to shift new fuel taxes and user fees onto general aviation.
Myth 1: The mechanisms for funding the FAA aren’t working.
Myth 2: A funding overhaul is needed to pay for modernization and to cover revenue shortfalls from the declining commercial ticket tax.
Myth 3: General aviation doesn’t pay its share for its use of the National Air Transportation System.
Myth 4: User fees will provide stable and predictable funding for the FAA.
Myth 5: Very light jets coming to market will place a new burden on the air transportation system.
“These myths have crept into the public discussion about FAA funding and have gained undeserved credibility,” Pelton said. “I am a businessman, not a policymaker, and FAA officials often speak of the need to run the FAA more like a business. So, I propose we address some basic business questions before we implement more policies or procedures that could add extra costs or make the system more burdensome than it already is.”