First-quarter aircraft shipments figures released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association point to an industry still being buffeted by economic headwinds nearly eight years after the Great Recession of 2008.
All fixed-wing aircraft segments posted declines compared with last year’s first quarter numbers, as reported GA airplane billings dropped 9.5 percent by value to $4 billion in Q1 2016 versus $4.5 billion in the first three months of 2015.
“The entire industry is feeling the impact of retrenchment in the energy sector as well as global geopolitical and economic insecurity,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. “Despite these headwinds, our industry continues to invest in research, development and certification of more efficient and safe products. Therefore, actions taken by elected officials to stimulate R&D and improve regulatory efficiency have a far-reaching impact on the economy.”
Sales of piston airplanes held relatively steady at 191 delivered versus 193 in last year’s first quarter. Turboprop deliveries were down 6.8 percent (109 in Q116 vs 117 in Q115) and business jet deliveries fell 4.7 percent (122 vs 128). Dassault deliveries were not represented in the report, GAMA noted.
Bunce pointed to the down numbers as a reason why aircraft certification reform at the FAA is desperately needed.