Piston Shipments Lag, Jets Remain Stronger than Ever

According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association first quarter tally, deliveries of new piston aircraft were off by about 28 percent compared with Q1 numbers from last year. Manufacturers delivered only 399 piston-powered aircraft in the first three months of this year, compared with 544 in last year's first quarter. Cirrus' numbers were down by almost half, to 76 aircraft delivered in the first three months of this year compared with 176 in Q1 2007 and 265 in Q1 2006, according to GAMA. By contrast, the number of new jets delivered in the same time frame increased by better than 40 percent, representing record revenue. The continued strong market for jets is attributed in part on the increase of sales outside North America-a market that is not strong for personally flown aircraft. Fast growing economies abroad and the weak dollar have stimulated international sales of large-ticket items such as business jets.