GAMA: Airframers Continue Strong Post-Covid Rebound in 3Q

 - November 18, 2021, 3:50 PM
Business jet deliveries in the first nine months rose 16 percent, to 438 aircraft, according to data from GAMA. Pilatus Aircraft was among the OEMs contributing to that gain, with year-to-date deliveries of its PC-24 twinjets climbing by three units, to 27.

General aviation airplane manufacturers continued their strong rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic slump, posting a 13 percent year-over-year (YOY) increase in billings during the first nine months, to $13.4 billion, according to statistics released today by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

For business jet makers, deliveries rose by nearly 16 percent, moving from 378 aircraft in the first nine months of 2020 to 438 in the same period this year. Almost all OEMs saw improvement, led by Textron Aviation, which saw a more than 70 percent increase in jet deliveries through the first three quarters, doubling the number of M2s it handed over from 13 to 26 and posting gains across its entire Citation product range.

Embraer tallied 11 more business jet deliveries than it did a year ago, good for a nearly 26 percent boost, while Bombardier’s totals increased from 70 aircraft deliveries in the first nine months of 2020 to 82 through the end of September this year, bettering its number by more than 17 percent. While the Montreal-based company delivered six fewer Challengers, it boosted the output of its Global family by 19 units. Pilatus Aircraft handed over three more PC-24s than it did a year ago.

Some airframers reported fewer deliveries in the first nine months of 2021, among them Gulfstream, which handed over four fewer G280s and three fewer large-cabin jets than it did than in the same time span a year ago. Honda was two units off its 2020 pace and Cirrus saw one less SF50 VisionJet delivery.

Dassault Aviation only updates its deliveries at midyear and year-end. The French manufacturer delivered six Falcons in the first half of 2021, down from 16 in the first six months of 2020.

Among the bizliner makers, Airbus and Boeing boosted their respective ACJ and BBJ totals by two each year-to-date.

Turboprops Soar

The turboprop market saw even stronger growth, improving by more than 40 percent YOY. The high-end pressurized turboprop segment was up nearly 26 percent over the first three quarters of 2021, with all airframers posting gains.

Florida-based Piper Aircraft improved over its 2020 numbers by nearly 35 percent, delivering eight additional M600/SLS single engines in the first nine months of 2021, while Textron, despite the elimination of the King Air C90 from its lineup, bettered its previous turboprop delivery total by nine units, doubling its output of the King Air 350i/360/ER to 28.

Daher added seven more TBM 940s to its YOY total, while Pilatus improved on its PC-12 score by eight aircraft.

Epic Aircraft, which received FAA certification for its upgraded E1000GX in July, delivered five of these turboprop singles in the third quarter, improving its YOY deliveries by two airframes.

Rotorcraft Rise

The rotorcraft market also bounced back strongly with a more than 100-unit delivery increase between the first nine months of 2020 and the same span this year, and a corresponding 30 percent increase in billings, to $2.42 billion. Turbine helicopters specifically rose from 333 to 410 deliveries, a more than 23 percent increase year-over-year.

Leonardo saw its shipments rise from 50 units in the first three quarters of 2020 to 66 this year, a 32 percent increase led by its AW119Kx, AW169, and AW189 models, while Bell posted a nine-unit increase in deliveries of its 505 light single, which helped propel it to a better than 20 percent increase between the comparable years.

Airbus Helicopters handed over 180 aircraft through the first nine months of 2021, good for a 15.3 percent boost over its tally in the same period last year. It was buoyed by a 19-unit increase in its H125 and 10 additional H225s, even as its deliveries of H145s slipped by nine units YOY.

For its R66 single-engine turbine model, Robinson Helicopter posted a 17-unit increase during the first three quarters of 2021, part of the California-based OEM’s overall 30 percent boost this year.

Connecticut-based Sikorsky, which delivered just one S-92 in the first nine months of 2020, handed over three in the same period this year, while Enstrom noted no deliveries of its Model 480 this year, after reporting three in the first three quarters of 2020.

“The general aviation manufacturing industry has shown perseverance with continued growth in all segments, all while still navigating pandemic-related setbacks, including ongoing supply chain and workforce challenges,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “Despite the constraints imposed by shortages of parts and people, our manufacturers and maintenance providers are working hard to meet the growing demand for both new and used aircraft, which we obviously welcome and embrace. The first nine months of 2021 have shown great progress and we look forward to seeing how the year closes out.”