GAMA: 2010 Disappointing but Signs of Recovery

At its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., the General Aviation Manufacturers' Association gave its formal assessment of the past year, and to no one's surprise, 2010 was one to forget. Shipments of new airplanes were down in all segments, with pistons, turboprops and bizjets all walloped by a still-weakened global economy. Overall, shipments were down more than 11 percent, with 2,015 airplanes shipped during the calendar year compared with 2,274 the year before. Shipments of piston airplanes were down just 7.7 percent, based on deliveries of 889 airplanes, compared with 963 in '09. Even turboprops, which had been holding the line against the downturn, saw a big drop in business, with shipments being off more than 17 percent for the year compared with the previous 12 months. Billings, surprisingly, were up compared with 2009, though this was based on an unexpectedly good year for large bizjets. GAMA Chairman John Rosanvallon of Dassault said that despite the disappointing numbers, there are signs for a recovery in one to two years, including recovering markets in non-traditional areas, improving GDP numbers and increases in corporate profits.