Piston Airplane Shipments Continue Decline

In positive sign, GAMA says sales drop appears to be slowing.

Cessna Skylane

Cessna Skylane

Manufacturers of piston-powered light singles and twins delivered 190 airplanes in this year's third quarter (157 singles and 33 twins), a 9.1 percent decline from the 209 piston airplanes delivered in the same period last year. Total piston shipments so far this year are down 8.8 percent compared with last year's numbers, the fourth year in a row the industry has experienced a decline.

Still, despite the continued anemic market for GA airplanes, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association said the figures appear to point to early signs of a turnaround. “These shipments and billings numbers show some improvement over the sharper decline experienced in first half of 2011,” said Pete Bunce, GAMA’s president and CEO. Most telling of all will be the end-of-year figures due out early next year.

Piston-powered airplane shipments totaled 577 in the first nine months of this year compared to 633 delivered in the first nine months of last year. Turboprop shipments declined 5.9 percent to 223 in 2011, compared to 237 during this same period in 2010. Business jet shipments totaled 427, a 13 percent drop compared to the 491 delivered in the first nine months of last year. Overall, piston airplane shipments are down almost 65 percent compared with figures recorded in 2008.