The GA industry continues its claw back to normalcy with the release of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) second quarter 2022 report on shipments and billings of certified aircraft.
Overall, the news is good—at least on the airplane side of the house, with deliveries up nearly 10 percent over the same period in 2021 and the total dollar amount up by 5.2 percent.
Things were a bit more measured for rotorcraft, with deliveries overall gaining just 0.6 percent and total billings down by 5.6 percent, or roughly $100 million.
“Despite ongoing supply chain and workforce issues, our industry continues to make progress and strategically posture for the future, which is a true testament to our strength and durability,” said GAMA’s president and CEO Pete Bunce.
“Demand for general aviation aircraft continues at a robust pace. Since the initial setbacks of the pandemic, we have seen some segments make strides with growing backlogs and high rates of operations while others are still diligently working to navigate the path to recovery.”
Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels
Overall, results from the first half of 2022 indicate strongly that the industry is well into recovery from the anemic pandemic years of 2020 and 2021. In fact, shipments for airplanes overall came in slightly higher than the figures for 2019, with 1,174 deliveries through the end of June 2022 versus 1,137 for the same period in 2019.
Especially strong, compared to 2019, are single-engine piston airplane sales, which are nearly 9 percent higher than three years ago, with 638 shipments overall.
Billings, however, are for the airplane segment in total versus pre-pandemic numbers, notching $5.271 million against $5.581 million—reflective of the fact that business jet sales (the most expensive mounts in the airplane category) still haven’t come back completely. There were 289 deliveries for the first half of 2022 and 333 for the term three years ago. Indications are strong from turbine-producing OEMs that as they work through backlogs of six to 18 months and solve supply chain pain points, those numbers will improve over the remainder of 2022.
So What’s Up?
The top winners for piston airplane shipments included Cirrus and Diamond, with significant increases in SR20 and DA40 shipments respectively.
In a statement to FLYING, Cirrus Aircraft CEO Zean Nielsen said the company historically has “consistently had a stronger delivery quarter in Q2 than Q1. Recently, we have seen momentum in our fleet business and delivered more aircraft to fleet customers in the first half of 2022 than we have in the past several years.
“In addition, our non-fleet flight training business continues to see strong growth; more people are choosing to make personal aviation a part of their lives and learning to fly in a SR20 at their local Cirrus Training Center. Both resulted in a strong 1H of SR20 training aircraft deliveries in 2022.”
Diamond also reported improvements post-pandemic. “Our Q2 numbers will have seen an improvement as our supply chain issues continue to recover from the COVID disruptions,” said Trevor Mustard, aircraft sales manager for Diamond in a statement to FLYING. “Additionally, there have been further efforts to ramp up our production at all our facilities in order to meet the steady demand from our customer base. Fleet (training) and private owners make up an estimated 60:40 percent ratio, respectively.”
Also back in the fight: turboprop sales, which suffered particularly in 2020, falling from 231 deliveries in 2019 to 152 in 2020 for the first two quarters of those years. Through June 2022, GA turboprop manufacturers reported 247 shipments with projections for a strong second half of the year as well.
The Not-So-Good News
Multiengine piston sales remain soft, though with some recovery in the first six months of this year—and rotorcraft sales overall are just beginning to bounce back. Helicopter OEMs shipped 414 total units in the first half of 2019, but just 257 in 2020 for that period, and 344 for the same range in 2022.
Six Month Aircraft Shipments and Billings
|Aircraft Type||2021||2022||Percent Change|
|Piston Airplanes||583||638||9.4 percent|
|Business Jets||264||289||9.5 percent|
|Total Airplanes||1,068||1,174||9.9 percent|
|Total Airplane Billings||$8.6 billion||$9.1 billion||5.8 percent|
|Piston Helicopters||83||87||4.8 percent|
|Turbine Helicopters||259||257||-0.8 percent|
|Total Helicopters||342||344||0.6 percent|
|Total Helicopter Billings||$1.4 billion||$1.3 billion||-7.1 percent|