Business and General Aviation Industry Billings Soar

 - February 19, 2020, 1:45 PM
Left GAMA chairman and president of Jet Aviation David Paddock and Pete Bunce, GAMA President and CEO.

Business and general aviation fixed-wing aircraft billings jumped by more than 14 percent year-over-year (YOY) in 2019, to $23.51 billion, marking the highest level since 2015, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reported today. Up from the $20.56 billion in 2018, last year's billings were propelled by an overall increase in shipments to 2,658 aircraft, and in particular a more than 100-unit jump in business jet deliveries to 809.

While business jet shipments surged in 2019, turboprop deliveries slowed. OEMs handed over 525 business and general aviation turboprops last year, an 11.3 percent decline from the year-earlier (the comparison does not include Viking Air, which did not report this year.) Both single- and multi-engine deliveries were down on the year in this category with Beechcraft King Airs, Cessna Caravans, Piper M-class turboprops, and Daher TBMs and Kodiaks among those seeing declines.

The fixed-wing cumulative total is up a little more than 9 percent from the 2,432 shipped in 2018 and has reached a level not seen since 2008. In that year, the industry handed over nearly 4,000 business and general aviation airplanes.

Business jet shipments are at the highest total in a decade (874 were delivered in 2009). Last year’s business jet shipment tally is up 15 percent from the 703 handed over in 2018. This comes as several business jet manufacturers enjoyed increases in 2019. Notably, Gulfstream delivered 26 more business jets YOY as it finished the fourth quarter with a book-to-bill of 1.7:1 and 1.2:1 for the whole year.

Textron saw an 18-aircraft jump in its business jet deliveries for a total of 206 on the year. This increase comes thanks in part to the beginning of Citation Longitude deliveries; 13 were handed over in the fourth quarter. Bombardier and Embraer also saw increases for the year, and Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet deliveries continue to hum along, increasing by 18 units in 2019 to 81.

Meanwhile, piston aircraft deliveries were up by nearly 200 units to 1,324. This represents a 16 percent increase from the 1,137 shipped in 2018. New this year is the addition of light-trainer manufacturer Sonaca, which delivered eight Sonaca 200s.

The GAMA report adds several other models that entered service in 2019: the Airbus ACJ319neo and ACJ320neo; Bombardier Global 5500 and 6500; Daher TBM 940; Embraer Praetor 500 and 600; Gulfstream G600; Tecnam P2012; and Citation Longitude.

Shipments on the rotary-wing side struggled, falling some 16 percent, to 819 units, with declines in both piston and turbine helicopters. Correspondently, billings were down nearly 12 percent, to $3.27 billion.

Piston helicopter deliveries plummeted from 281 last year to 179 in 2019, a decline of 36.3 percent. Turbine helicopter shipments dropped to 640 last year from 696 a year earlier, an 8.3 percent slide (figures here and above omit Leonardo fourth-quarter shipments and billings in 2018. Leonardo has not yet reported fourth-quarter 2019 results).