The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) said on Feb. 17 that year-end worldwide shipments of general aviation airplanes decreased in 2008 for the first time in five years.
Speaking at GAMA’s Annual Industry Review and Market Outlook Briefing, GAMA Chairman, Mark Van Tine, president and CEO of Jeppesen, reported that despite a positive year for revenue attributed to order backlogs, the industry is feeling a significant impact from the slowing worldwide economy.
“Many of GAMA’s member companies have been forced to reduce their work force as they manage backlogs to compensate for the weakness in orders,” Van Tine said, but added: “While our industry is challenged in the current economic climate, we are focused on planning for a stronger future. The world’s economy depends upon a robust air transportation system and general aviation is absolutely a vital component of that global system. Our industry’s continued investment in research and development of new products is unprecedented. We have learned from history that investing smartly in our future and that of our customers’ is the best way to build our way out of tough economic times.”
Industry billings reached $24.8 billion, a 13.4% increase over 2007, those positive numbers reflecting fulfillment of orders placed for turboprops and business jets during the strong economic years of 2006 and 2007. However, 2008 year-end, worldwide shipments of general aviation airplanes showed a decline, with a total of 3,969 units, a 7.1% decrease over the previous year’s total of 4,272 airplanes.
The turboprop segment experienced the strongest growth in 2008, with shipments up nearly 17% as 535 turboprops were shipped, up from 459 units in 2007. Business jet shipments reached a new plateau in 2008 with a total of 1,315 airplanes, up 15.6% from the previous year’s figure of 1,138 airplanes. The piston airplane segment was down 20.8% in 2008, however, with 2,119 units delivered, compared to 2,675 in 2007.
For information: www.GAMA.aero.