2008 GAMA Figures Reveal Industry Woes

In its briefing on last year's sales figures, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association reported an increase in billings compared with 2007 (up 13.4 percent). But that's where the flow of good news comes to a screeching halt. Overall the picture looks bleak, said GAMA Chairman Mark Van Tine, president and CEO of Jeppesen. "Many of GAMA's member companies have been forced to reduce their workforce as they manage backlogs to compensate for weakness in orders," he said. While turboprops and jets showed increases in shipments last year (16.6 percent and 15.6 percent respectively), GAMA maintains those figures represent fulfillment of orders placed well before the current economic crisis. Even those sectors face dire cutbacks this year as they struggle to retain orders. In the piston segment, 2008 showed a 20.8 percent decrease in shipments compared with 2007. Overall, shipments in all segments suffered a 7.1 percent slowdown last year, to 3,969 aircraft from 4,272 in 2007.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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