Diamond Aircraft Deliveries Jump 33% in 2011

Strong numbers emerge after a rocky year for the manufacturer.

Diamond DA20

Diamond DA20

Diamond DA20Diamond Aircraft

Despite a tumultuous year that saw the company pushed to the verge of bankruptcy, Diamond Aircraft's sales increased by a healthy 33 percent last year, according to Q4 numbers released by the company. Diamond said it made a total of 185 deliveries last year, a substantial leap from the 139 deliveries made in the year prior.

With the increase, Diamond bucked the trend of flat sales experienced by the aviation industry as a whole during 2011, a year that saw 860 orders for piston aircraft and 340 for turboprops, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

Diamond attributed its success to the launch of several new products, including the DA20 with Garmin G500 avionics and the Lycoming-powered DA42-L360, as well as strong interest in the Austro Engine-powered version of the DA42 and the company's special mission DA42 MPP.

In light of the uptick in sales, CEO of Diamond’s North American operations Peter Maurer said the company is “cautiously optimistic” about the near-term future.

“It is clear that with the economic downtown of late 2008 many customers had put their purchase plans on hold,” Maurer said. “Three years later…we are now seeing increasing interest from both private as well as commercial markets.”

The positive numbers come after a rocky year for the Austrian-based manufacturer, one that included the Canadian government’s refusal to fulfill a $35 million loan request, as well as the company’s withdrawal from several major air shows and aviation events due to financial constraints.

Diamond’s financial future brightened, however, in November when it was bought by the Middle Eastern firm Medrar Financial Group. Medrar’s CEO, Jamil Marmarchi, has since emphasized the company’s commitment to the previously cash-strapped D-Jet program, saying Medrar is “excited not only by the D-Jet, but also by the derivative models to follow.”