GAMA Year-End Stats Point to Market Turnaround

Deliveries of new business jets, piston airplanes and helicopters all inched higher while turboprop deliveries fell in 2017.

GAMA
Year-end delivery stats released by GAMA point to a market on an upswing.GAMA

Year-end delivery numbers released yesterday by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association paint a mixed picture of an industry still struggling to regain the market ground it lost in the turmoil of the 2008 economic recession. Still, bright spots in the report included sales of new business jets, which were up slightly, a welcome increase in piston aircraft, and a surprising uptick for piston and turbine helicopter sales.

“The 2017 year-end results were encouraging, especially with the delivery growth we saw in the business jet, piston airplane and rotorcraft segments,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “Looking ahead, we’re optimistic given some very positive economic indicators, stabilization in the used business aircraft market, new manufacturing techniques spurred by additive manufacturing, and innovative aerospace technologies driving urban air mobility platforms, electric and hybrid propulsion, unmanned aerial vehicles and commercial space.”

Piston airplane deliveries rose to 1,085 in 2017 from 1,019 the year before, a 6.5 percent increase. Turboprop deliveries declined 3.3 percent, to 563 in 2017 versus 582 in 2016. Business jet deliveries rose slightly by 1.3 percent to 676. The biggest surprise in the figures was a nearly 18 percent increase in deliveries of piston helicopters, and a 7.5 percent increase in total worldwide helicopter deliveries.

The upbeat news for the rotorcraft industry comes as Heli-Expo is set to begin next week in Las Vegas.