Earlier this week the General Aviation Manufacturer’s Association (GAMA) released its annual report on the past year’s GA sales, and it was, as they say, a mixed bag, with some noteworthy gains in some segments and some unexpected and unwelcome drop-offs in others.
The piston world did great, thanks, in terms of numbers at least, in large part to a stellar performance by makers of piston singles and twins. Between Europe (550 units) and the United States (883 planes shipped), the overall figure of 1,334 represented a better-than 16% improvement over 2018. Among numerous standouts were Cirrus Aircraft, with 384 piston singles delivered; Diamond Aircraft, which shipped 233 piston singles and twins; Piper Aircraft, with its 246 piston sales; Tecnam with 205 deliveries, and Icon, with a resurgent performance, delivering 41 A5s.
In the entry-level jet sector, Honda Aircraft turned over the keys (figuratively) to 36 new owners of HondaJets, Textron delivered 34 M2s, a direct competitor to the HondaJet, and a total of 104 CJs, including the M2. Embraer shipped 11 Phenom 100s and 51 Phenom 300s, keeping the light jet segment extremely competitive. And the newcomer to the party, Pilatus, handed over an impressive 40 PC24 jets.
Some noteworthy cases of models in decline include Mooney, with 9 deliveries (made before the first round of furloughs last year), the ONE Aviation Eclipse 550, with no deliveries, and Textron Aviation’s shipping of just seven G-36 Bonanzas.
Sales figures were up sharply, but remember that these numbers are disproportionately affected by the sales of the biggest, costliest bizjets. Gulfstream, for instance, delivered 147 airplanes, but those aircraft accounted for $7.8 billion in sales.
Overall, according to GAMA, GA manufacturers delivered $26.8 billion worth of airplanes, an increase of $3.5 billion over 2018 and the best performance since the global downturn year of 2009.
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