Second quarter data released Friday by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) showed aircraft billing figures continuing their downward, across-the-board slide, a trend that began in 2014. Aircraft shipments in the first half of 2016 declined 4.5 percent to 970 units, while billings fell 11 percent from $10.4 billion to $9.3 billion. By comparison, the second quarter 2015 numbers showed a drop in aircraft shipments of 9.1 percent to 1,015 units, with billings declining 4.6 percent to $10.4 billion.
Hardly immune to the industry’s woes, rotorcraft shipments plummeted 16.7 percent in the first half of this year, with just 392 units delivered versus 467 in the same period last year. The decline represented a drop in rotorcraft billings to $1.4 billion from last year’s $2.1 billion. Piston rotorcraft deliveries were down 10.1 percent from last year, while turbine deliveries declined more substantially by 18.3 percent.
In the first half of 2016, piston aircraft deliveries dropped 4.5 percent from 464 to 443 units, while turboprop shipments declined nearly 5 percent from 247 to 235 aircraft. The 292 business jets delivered so far in 2016, versus 305 last year, translated into a 4.3 percent dip.
GAMA’s CEO Pete Bunce said, “As we saw at AirVenture last week, general aviation manufacturers are working hard to regain momentum by delivering innovative new products and technologies that enhance safety and provide substantial improvement in capability.” Bunce was critical of Congress for its “collective failure” to reform what he labeled an “outdated and overly prescriptive certification process in the recently passed FAA extension.”