General aviation airplane deliveries got off to a good start in 2019, according to statistics compiled by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). All sectors, including business jet, turboprop, and piston-powered airplanes, showed an increase in deliveries year-over-year for the first three months of the year, while industry billings rose by 10.5 percent, to $4.23 billion. "While our rotorcraft segment experienced some headwinds, our airplane segment remains strong," said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. "Statements by our member companies point to solid order intakes during the first quarter, laying down a positive marker for later in 2019."
For business jets, the first quarter of 2019 saw 141 deliveries, an increase of nine aircraft from the same period in 2018. Gulfstream led the way, with an additional eight of its large-cabin jets in the first three months of this year, while its super-midsize G280 deliveries remained static at seven. Cessna saw a 22 percent increase year-over-year showing increases or the same number of deliveries across its entire product line, as its first-quarter totals rose from 36 in the first three months of 2018 to 44 this year. The Wichita airframer increased its output of the M2, Sovereign+, and Latitude by two each, while Pilatus added three additional examples of its PC-24 light jet year-over-year.
Embraer remained even with 11 deliveries in each year, the two Legacy 450s handed over in 2018 were offset by the delivery of an additional Legacy 500 and a Legacy 600/650 this year.
Canadian OEM Bombardier noted a nearly 23 percent decrease in deliveries for the quarter, moving from 31 in the first three months of 2018 to 24. All models saw a decline with the exception of its flagship Global 7500 which received certification late year.
Honda saw first-quarter deliveries of its light HondaJet down by nearly 42 percent, year-over-year, moving from 12 in the first quarter of 2018, to 7 in the first three months of 2019.
Dassault presents its delivery totals for its Falcons at mid-year and year-end.
In the bizliner category, Airbus handed over a pair of ACJ320neos in the first quarter of 2019, after posting no deliveries in the same period last year, while Boeing, which had four deliveries early in 2018, had none through March of this year.
While the overall turboprop segment saw a 7 percent rise year-over-year, the higher-end pressurized models remained flat with 50 deliveries in the first quarter of both years. Textron handed over five additional Beechcraft King Air 250s in the first quarter of 2019, contributing to a 35 percent overall increase for the manufacturer, as Daher and Pilatus remained steady on their single-engine turboprops, delivering eight and 12 both years, respectively. Piper handed over seven M500s during the first quarter of 2019, down from the same period last year when it delivered three M500s and seven M600’s. Piaggio, which delivered three Avanti Evo twin pushers in the first three months last year, reported none in the same period this year.
On the rotorcraft side, total shipments were down more than 19 percent year-over-year, and billings declined by nearly $100 million, while turbine-powered helicopters slid more than 22 percent, from 134 in the first quarter of 2018 to 104 during the same period this year. Bell, which delivered 46 helicopters in 1Q 2018 saw that total fall to 30 in the first three months of 2019. The Textron-subsidiary transitioned from the 407GXP with 17 deliveries in the first quarter of 2018 to just one this year, while ramping up to the 407 GXi with six handed over in the first three months of 2019. It also delivered seven fewer 505s year-over-year. Airbus Helicopters, which delivered 46 civilian rotorcraft in the first quarter of 2018, handed over three less this year, the difference mainly being four fewer H135s in the first quarter.
Leonardo was down by 34 percent from its first quarter 2018 totals. The company delivered no AW189/149s in the first three months of 2019, as compared to the six it handed over a year earlier. Likewise, it had no AW119Kx deliveries, having four in the first quarter of 2018. It did exceed its 1Q 2018 tally on the AW169 by three units, delivering six in the first three months of 2019.
Robinson Helicopter dialed back its deliveries on the R66 by six, handing over 12 in the first quarter of the year, while Sikorsky which had one delivery, an S92, in the first three months of 2018, had none this year.