The General Aviation Manufacturers Association released its second quarter aircraft sales report, which showed mostly positive trends for the general aviation industry. The greatest growth was seen in the training market, a result of the apparent pilot shortage that is spurring a need for new airplanes for flight schools. This positive trend should continue for a while yet. Boeing’s 2018 Pilot and Technician Outlook, released in July, forecasted a massive demand for pilots for the next 20 years.
“We hope the continued interest in training aircraft as well as in new, safety-enhancing products and technology our member companies are bringing to the market will continue to drive increases in future quarters, and drive increases in people joining the industry’s workforce,” said GAMA’s president and CEO Pete Bunce.
Piston airplane deliveries grew by 6.4 percent for the first half of 2018 as compared with the same period last year as companies handed off 498 airplanes to customers.
While the turboprop market has seen a slight slump recently, it had a terrific start to 2018 with 260 turboprop aircraft delivered, 23 more than last year, representing a 9.7 percent jump.
On the other hand, the bizjet industry continues to be flat, so despite the growth at the lower end of the market, the total airplane billings dropped by 5 percent from $9.03 billion in 2017 to $8.58 billion.
The positive flight-training growth also resulted in better sales for piston helicopters with a massive 19.2 percent increase for the first two quarters over the same period last year. Turbine helicopters saw a slight increase in the number of deliveries as well, but, just as the airplane market, the total helicopter billings dropped from $1.88 billion to $1.66 billion, an 11.6 percent drop.