The first quarter brought good news regarding deliveries for the general aviation industry, according to statistics released late last week by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Airplane deliveries rose nearly 15 percent year-over-year in the quarter, but they were led by smaller aircraft. Overall, the industry witnessed a $300 million decline in billings from a year ago, to $3.7 billion.
Turboprops saw the biggest increase in deliveries—up more than 30 percent over the first three months of 2021, with higher-end pressurized models notching a 39 percent boost.
Textron Aviation more than doubled the total of King Air twins it produced in the first quarter of 2021, handing over 15 this year. Pilatus saw an 86 percent increase in PC-12 deliveries year-over-year, and while Piper Aircraft handed over six M600 SLS turboprop singles during last year’s first quarter, this year it delivered a mix of seven M600s and M500s. Epic increased deliveries of the E1000 by two airframes over its previous total of one.
Daher was the lone turboprop manufacturer to show a deficit, having delivered two TBM 940s in the first quarter of this year, compared with seven in the same period in 2021. But that can be explained by its new TBM 960 model, which began shipping last month.
On the business jet side, deliveries increased by a modest 4.4 percent, from 113 in the first quarter of 2021 to 118 during the first three months of this year. Textron’s Cessna saw the largest gain, doubling the deliveries of the Citation CJ3+ from four to eight, on its way to logging an overall 39 percent increase year-over-year. Bombardier, which handed over the final three Learjets in the first quarter, was five aircraft shy of its total of 26 from last year. Gulfstream was three off its total of 28 in first-quarter 2021, with the discrepancy coming from the large-cabin segment of its product lineup. Embraer, which handed over 13 aircraft in the first three months of 2021, delivered eight in the same quarter this year. Honda Aircraft was one unit off its total of five from last year.
Pilatus and Cirrus were the only other private jet manufacturers to increase their output this year, with the former more than doubling the number of PC-24s it delivered from three to seven in the first quarter, and Cirrus adding four SF50 Vision Jets, to seven. Dassault Aviation reports its deliveries only in the middle and end of the year.
For the quarter, Airbus had three deliveries, including the first green ACJ TwoTwenty, while Boeing did not deliver any BBJs.
Piston airplane deliveries climbed nearly 14 percent year-over-year in the first quarter, while helicopter handovers increased 7 percent in the same period.
Turbine-powered rotorcraft exceeded the first-quarter 2021 delivery total by 7 percent, but the segment still saw a 17 percent decrease in billings.
Bell notched the largest improvement, exceeding its first-quarter 2021 delivery total of 20 by five aircraft and tacking on 13 more light 505s than it produced a year ago. Leonardo Helicopters improved by four units on its year-over-year numbers, having delivered six AW119Kx models in the first three months of 2022 versus none in the same period last year. Airbus Helicopters remained static at 36 deliveries, while Robinson Helicopter R66 output was one off the total of 22 in the first quarter of 2021. Sikorsky Aircraft had no deliveries for the quarter compared with one S-92 a year ago.
“It is reassuring to see aircraft deliveries continue to show strong progress as we emerge from impacts of the pandemic,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “It is especially encouraging to see piston airplane deliveries continue their positive trajectory and exceed last year’s numbers, as well as the first-quarter numbers of 2020 and 2019.”