Business Jet Deliveries Drop to Lowest Level Since 2004

Year-end shipment numbers released by GAMA point to a market in transition.

Business Jet
Business jet deliveries in 2016 were at their lowest in more than a decade.Gulfstream

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association today released year-end aircraft shipment and billing numbers for 2016 that paint a picture of an industry in transition — if not outright turmoil — with business jet deliveries reaching their lowest level since 2004.

Airplane shipments globally fell 3.9 percent, from 2,331 units in 2015 to 2,241 units in 2016 from the same reporting companies, whereas airplane billings declined 14.1 percent versus 2015 numbers, from $24.1 billion to $20.7 billion.

GAMA attributed the sharp drop in billings to the development of several new business jet models that have yet to reach the market, as well as soft pricing for used jets that continue to weigh on the industry.

Turboprop shipments provided a lone bright spot in the numbers, experiencing an increase from 557 airplanes delivered in 2015 to 576 units in 2016 for the same reporting companies, a 3.4 percent increase.

Piston airplane shipments declined from 1,056 units in 2015 to 1,004 units in 2016, a reduction of 4.9 percent for the same reporting companies.

“The 2016 year-end results were disappointing overall, although we did see some blue sky in the turboprop sector,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. “As we look toward 2017 and beyond, we are optimistic about the future and encouraged by the number of companies investing in innovative research and development programs and planning to bring new products to market.”

Cirrus Aircraft, meanwhile, reported wrapping up its best year in recent memory as the Duluth, Minnesota, manufacturer delivered 317 SR-series piston airplanes, making it the top-selling GA aircraft maker by units sold, and handed over the first three SF50 Vision single-engine jets to customers.

Large-cabin jets buyers have been waiting for include the Gulfstream G500 and G600, Dassault Falcon 8X, Bombardier Global 7000 and 8000 and Cessna Longitude and Hemisphere.

Turbine helicopter deliveries, excluding Leonardo shipments in either year, because 2016 won't be available until next month, were down by 120 units, to 637 last year, while and piston helicopter shipments were down 20 percent to 224. Billings by reporting helicopter manufacturers dipped by $200 million, to $3.6 billion, with a large portion of the drop attributed to turbulence in the oil and gas sector.