Airplane shipments down worldwide in 2009

Aircraft shipments and billings were down in 2009 from the year before and, for the first time, more than half the business jets went to customers outside of North America, with export billings accounting for more than half all aircraft sales. This was reported at the annual industry review held today by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

North America accounted for 49% of the sales, which was down 5%  from 2008. About 26% went to Europe and 9% to Latin America, both even with the previous year. Asia Pacific gained 9%, an increase of 4%, while the Middle East and Africa grew 7%, a 1% gain.

The used business jet fleet on the market hit a high last year, 16.5% in the second quarter of 2009, showing a slow decline after that to the present 15%.

The greatest decline was in the piston segment of the market, dropping 54.5%. Business jets saw a 33.7% decline and turboprops were off 17.5%. In number of units, piston powered aircraft still led with 965 shipped. Business jets accounted for 870 and turboprop 441. Total shipments in 2009 were 2,276 planes compared to 3,967 the previous year. Billings dropped from $24.8 billion in 2008 to $19 billion  last year.

GAMA officials add flight hours are beginning to recover from a low in the early part of 2009.

The manufacturers see the worldwide economic conditions as the reason for the decline in shipments, which was the second year in a row.

GAMA is an international organization of manufacturers of aircraft, powerplants, avionics and related equipment. U.S. manufacturers produced 514 of the business jets shipped, 814 of the piston-powered, and 269 of the turboprops.

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