GAMA 3Q report: Jet Deliveries Slide as T-props Rebound

 - December 1, 2013, 10:38 AM

When the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) released its third-quarter delivery totals on Halloween, it was preparing the industry for some trick or treating. The trick: business jet delivery totals continued to slide, on their way toward a possible fifth straight year of decline, with the 421 handed over in the first nine months of the year representing a decrease of more than 2 percent from the same period last year. The treats: industry billings rose by nearly 25 percent over the first three quarters of 2012, to $15.4 billion, mainly on the strength of large-cabin deliveries, while the turboprop segment showed increasing resilience.

“The strong level of energy and positive mood of customers at the NBAA Convention reflects the industry’s continued recovery from the recession and gives GAMA members good reason to feel optimistic about the future,” said Pete Bunce, GAMA president and CEO. “While our members enjoyed another strong quarter of billings, not all of the news is good; the industry still faces significant challenges, particularly in the small and midsize jet markets.”

Deliveries at Cessna perhaps best reflected that last statement. The Textron subsidiary reported erosion across its entire product line, handing over 12 fewer CJ4s, 11 fewer Citation Mustang VLJs and 10 fewer Citation Sovereigns in the first nine months of the year than it did in the same period last year. Overall the Wichita airframer reported a nearly 40-percent decrease in business jet deliveries.

For other OEMs the decrease was less drastic. Dassault, which added the large-cabin Falcon 2000S variant to its stable this year, delivered two fewer aircraft in the first nine months of this year than it did in the first three quarters of last year, for a decrease of 4.7 percent.

Bombardier remained basically static in terms of the overall number of deliveries. This year the manufacturer wound down its Learjet 40/45 deliveries, which decreased to just one this year from 13 in the first nine months of 2012 as it prepares for the entry into service of the new 70/75. The Montreal-based airframer boosted output on its large-cabin long-range Globals by 10 year-over-year and delivered an additional seven super-midsize Challenger 300s.

Demonstrating the mixed results that the major bizjet manufacturers encountered during the first nine months of the year, Gulfstream experienced a year-over-year surge of more than 80 percent, with deliveries of its large-cabin offerings increasing by 35 aircraft year-over-year. With its midsize G150 bolstered by the addition of the super-midsize G280, the Savannah-based OEM more than tripled its lower-end deliveries in the first three quarters.

Embraer saw a strong upswing as well, handing over 20 more jets in the first three quarters compared with the same period last year, a 43.5-percent increase in deliveries. The Brazilian manufacturer’s improvement was led by the seven additional large-cabin Legacy 650s handed over between January and the end of September this year, and an upswing of six each in its Phenom 100 and 300 light jets over the first three quarters of 2012.

In the bizliner class, Airbus and Boeing saw decreases of 50 percent and nearly 38 percent, respectively, in the number of aircraft delivered, while Embraer handed over one more Lineage 1000/E190 Shuttle in the first nine months of this year than it did during the same period last year.

The news for the pressurized turboprop segment was positive, with manufacturers delivering 166 aircraft in the first nine months of this year, 25 more than in the same period in 2012, for a 17.7-percent increase.

While Beechcraft retired the Hawker name and jets earlier this year, the Wichita-based company still delivered the remaining six Hawker 4000s in the first nine months. Overall, the company saw a 12.5-percent increase in overall deliveries year-over-year, and when separating out its line of King Air turboprop twins it saw a rise of more than 47 percent. While the company’s military King Airs were formerly segregated, Beechcraft now includes them in its overall tally, rather than submitting them separately. GAMA recently divided its turboprop delivery reporting to include a separate multi-engine turboprop category in its quarterly reports. While the segment also includes Piaggio, the Italian OEM said it will report its 2013 deliveries at the end of the year. During the first three quarters of last year, the manufacturer handed over two Avanti IIs.

The single-engine pressurized turboprop makers also saw mixed results. While Daher-Socata delivered five more TBM850s in the first nine months of the year than it did in the same period last year, Pilatus handed over four fewer PC-12s, a year-over-year decrease of approximately 11 percent, while Piper delivered one fewer Meridians.

“As GAMA works with policymakers around the globe to facilitate increases in the deliveries of general aviation manufacturing products, we are encouraged by the progress of initiatives such as the Small Airplane Revitalization Act–which will increase safety while reducing cost for both industry and government,” Bunce said, adding that the organization had worked closely with the FAA in the aftermath of the more than two-weeks-long government shutdown to clear any aircraft delivery backlog that might affect the fourth-quarter delivery numbers.


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