GAMA: General Aviation Aircraft Shipments, Billings Improve in 2022

 - February 22, 2023, 1:00 PM
Aircraft shipments were higher last year than in 2021, GAMA reported, and turboprop deliveries led the way with deliveries up 10.4 percent. (Photo: Daher)

Global business and general aviation fixed-wing aircraft shipments increased across all categories in 2022 with a combined improvement of 6.5 percent and a corresponding 5.8 percent rise in billings, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Similarly, rotorcraft shipments and billings were up 7.5 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.

GAMA, which released its year-end shipment report this afternoon during its annual "State of the Industry" press conference, reported that 2,818 fixed-wing aircraft were handed over last year, compared with 2,648 in the year earlier. Turboprop deliveries surged by 10.4 percent, while business jet deliveries improved by only 0.3 percent. Billings last year were $22.9 billion, up $1.3 billion from 2021.

Business jet makers last year largely reported strong order books and book-to-bill ratios well in excess of 1:1, but supply-chain problems and market uncertainties tempered ramp-ups in production. Even so, business jet makers handed over 712 aircraft in 2022, two more than a year earlier. Deliveries were up in the single digits at Textron Aviation, Bombardier, and Gulfstream.

Turboprop makers enjoyed a strong year, reporting 582 deliveries versus 527 in 2021. In this space, Textron Aviation and Daher reported increased deliveries. Daher also said it had a record year in orders, setting the company up for some 100 shipments in 2023 and 2024.

As demand for new pilots remains strong—and alongside it a need for training—the piston market improved by 8.2 percent, with 1,524 aircraft delivered last year. This is up from the 1,409 piston aircraft shipped in 2021.

As for the rotorcraft market, OEMs delivered 876 units worth $4 billion in 2022. This is up from the 812 shipped and $3.7 billion in billings in 2021.

Turbine helicopters led these increases, up 7.6 percent with 682 deliveries. This marked an improvement from 631 a year earlier. Piston helicopter shipments rose almost as much, at least percentage-wise—up 7.2 percent. Helicopter manufacturers reported 194 piston deliveries in 2022 and 181 in 2021.

“The general aviation manufacturing industry continues to show increasing strength despite workforce and supply-chain challenges across our industry,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “Our product development across the spectrum of fixed wing, rotorcraft, and advanced air mobility vehicles is spurred by the recognition that our industry is the safety and sustainability technology incubator for global civil aviation,” he said.

Bunce pointed to advancements as the industry develops technologies to improve safety, performance, and sustainability with lighter materials, new structural and wing designs, fly-by-wire control replacing heavy hydraulic systems, additive manufacturing, more reliable avionics, and engines and airframes that can fly on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel.

But he added that as Congress develops an FAA reauthorization bill this year, it should focus on improving the FAA’s processes to support the certification of these new technologies.