Looking back on European business aviation’s boom years of 2004 to 2008, new figures from the European General Aviation Manufacturers Association (EGAMA) show that during this period the value of its members’ combined deliveries climbed by 59 percent to peak at $12 billion last year. In 2008, almost 1,000 aircraft were delivered by an industry that directly supports 35,000 jobs in Europe.
EGAMA was set up two years ago as a grouping of the Aerospace and Defense Industries Association of Europe to represent manufacturers’ interests with European Union rulemakers and governments. EGAMA chairman Olivier Villa, senior vice president civil aircraft of Dassault Aviation, told the press yesterday that while his association is the European counterpart of the U.S. GAMA, there is no rivalry between the two as they work together closely and often defend identical interests–for instance, in the field of emission trading. The founding of EGAMA was triggered by the fact that the economic importance of general aviation was widely underestimated by the European public as well as governments.
EGAMA currently has 12 manufacturers as members, including Airbus, Dassault, Daher-Socata and Eurocopter. Villa said that the general aviation industry is now fully recognized by EU institutions and is able to participate in discussions about future rules.
What remains to be achieved is a general recognition that an executive jet is an efficient business tool and not a toy for the idle rich. Following a general trend, EGAMA is working on a greener general aviation industry, providing a number of commitments from product life cycle to maintenance.
While Villa recognizes that EGAMA members are suffering from the recession, he suggested that they keep investing in research and development to remain competitive and offer cutting-edge products when demand increases again.