Business airplane deliveries rise

 - October 12, 2006, 8:21 AM

Deliveries of new turbine business airplanes in the first half of this year increased slightly over the same period last year, but not all manufacturers reported improved numbers, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

OEMs shipped 240 business jets in the first half–just six more than in the first six months last year. Turboprop deliveries, however, increased to 83 from 69 year-over-year.

Bombardier led the increase by a wide margin, partly due to a four-month production shutdown early last year. The Canadian airframer shipped 62 business jets in the first half–twice as many as in the same period last year. Dassault also showed a significant improvement. Gulfstream and Raytheon experienced modest gains. Airbus did not report any deliveries of its corporate jetliner. And the two deliveries of Boeing Business Jets represented no change from the number for last year.

Raytheon Aircraft is sticking to its projection made last year of delivering 211 turbine business airplanes–including the first two Hawker Horizons–compared with 180 last year.

Dassault is also optimistic. “The positive pace of orders set in the first quarter of this year continued in the second quarter,” said Charles Edelstenne, chairman of Dassault Aviation. “Since the market turnaround last fall, we’ve seen robust sales activity in the U.S. and positive signs that activity is strengthening in Europe.”

The company expects sales to continue to grow in the third quarter of this year, with an overall increase in sales and deliveries for the year. “We’re on target to deliver around 60 aircraft in 2004. That’s a 20-percent increase compared with [the 49 shipped in] 2003,” said John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon Jet.

Cessna, which historically out-delivers all other manufacturers, reported deliveries of only 68 Citations between January 1 and June 30, compared with 106 in the same period a year ago. The 35 Citations shipped in the second quarter just met the company’s projection.

Cessna conceded at the end of the first quarter that “our target for the second quarter is challenging, as we expect to deliver only between 35 and 40 jets." Cessna delivered 57 Citations in the second quarter last year.

Following a high rate of increased sales late last year, Cessna projected at the end of the first quarter that it expected to deliver between 170 and 175 jets this year. As a result of continued sales (although not at the same rate) and the introduction of three new Citation models this year, Cessna is now projecting it will deliver 180 jets this year, just 15 fewer than the 195 shipped last year. Scheduled to enter service this year are the CJ3, Sovereign and XLS.

Manufacturers also reported more turboprop shipments, except Socata for its TBM 700. Pilatus nearly doubled shipments of the PC-12 turboprop single. A drop in piston sales dragged down total general aviation shipments by 1.7 percent, to 1,123 airplanes. Billings, however, jumped 16.6 percent to nearly $5 billion because of the overall increase in turbine airplane shipments.