At its annual gathering in Washington, D.C. earlier this week, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association released its final numbers for aircraft deliveries in 2018, and as usual, there was a ton of data, and the significance of some of it isn’t immediately apparent. Our trends to look at in a bit.
The numbers for aircraft sales continue to be strong by recent standards and slow by historical ones. Shipments (the number of actual planes delivered) increased by 4.7 percent, to 2,443 units in 2018, compared to 2017. The takeaway, according to Pete Bunce, president of GAMA, is that manufacturers saw increases in every segment, including a 5 percent uptick in piston deliveries, a 3.8 percent improvement in jets handed over to customers, 6.4 percent better deliveries with rotorcraft, and a 5.2 percent climb for turboprops. Those figures are all solid and, importantly, represent sustainable growth.
Perhaps the more important figure, billings, increased by a modest 1.5 percent, though even a small improvement like that represents a huge number of actual dollars of improvement. The market went from $20.2 billion in 2017 to $20.6 billion in 2018, an increase of $400 million in an already solid market.
The introduction of the Cirrus Jet, with deliveries of 63 SF-50 Vision Jets in its first full year of production is noteworthy, and the continued success of Honda Jet, with deliveries of 37 of its light jets are both welcome results for the companies.
Perhaps a bigger story is the continued success of Textron Aviation’s 525 model lineup, which today includes the M2, the CJ3+ and the CJ4, which accounted for 100 deliveries among them, making the lineup the continued leader in the segment.
In the mid-size bizjet segment, Textron again posted strong results, with deliveries of 57 of its Latitude midsized model, outdistancing the performance on Embraer with its two midsized jets, the Legacy 450 and 500, with 23 deliveries between the two fly-by-wire jets. Textron also delivered 94 King Airs, including 52 of its impressive King Air 350 model.
Piper enjoyed strong numbers across the board, as well. It turned over to customers 56 turboprops, including 38 of its M600 turboprop single. And its piston sales were hot too, with Archers leading the way, the Vero Beach company delivering a whopping 107 of the four-seaters. Cessna did well with its piston four-seater, as well, with deliveries of 160 Skyhawks in all.
For more information, check out GAMA’s numbers at GAMA.aero.