The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) released its 2020 year-end general aviation aircraft billings and shipments report on Feb. 25, showing a decrease in total aircraft deliveries with piston airplane deliveries holding steady while turboprop, business jet, and helicopter deliveries saw declines, according to a Feb. 24 press release.
In 2020, business and general aviation aircraft deliveries reached $22.8 billion compared to $27.3 billion in 2019, according to the report. Total fixed-wing aircraft billings declined 14.8 percent in 2020 reaching $20 billion.
“As expected, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted general aviation and stifled the industry’s growth,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said in a press statement. “While we continue to face headwinds globally, all signs point to strong demand for our products and services that are unfortunately being constrained by pandemic induced supply chain limitations and a vast array of disjointed barriers to air travel across national borders. As we progress through the recovery process, our member companies have made the health and safety of their employees and that of their suppliers an overarching priority, and rigorously support economic policies that preserve our skilled aerospace workforce.”
Business jet deliveries were down to a total of 609 last year, compared to 809 in 2019. Textron Aviation saw the highest decline, delivering 74 fewer aircraft in 2020, while Gulfstream was down by 20 and Bombardier by 28 deliveries.
Piston airplanes only saw a 0.9 percent decrease from 2019 to 2020, according to the report. This is less than the overall airplane change which was 9.7 percent. According to GAMA most of the piston engine market shipments came from North America.
However, 2020 also saw the first certified electrical aircraft delivered in the piston airplane segment, Nicolas Chabbert, GAMA chairman and senior vice president of Daher’s aircraft division, said during GAMA’s remotely hosted 2021 “State of the Industry” press conference.
Chabbert said that the North American market had the largest market share again and the Asia Pacific market came in second.
Chabbert said that despite the slow down caused by the pandemic the need for pilots is still high.
“The need for pilots is still high, and especially for younger pilots, so just wanted to pause on that,” Chabbert said. “I was very impressed to see that in the U.S., students starts were actually 3 percent higher in 2020. It’s almost 50,000 students, as we speak. So these shipments are probably going to last for quite a long time.”
Single engine turboprop airplanes performed slightly better than regular turboprop airplane shipments which decreased 15.6 percent, Chabbert said.
“It is encouraging to see that segments of our industry saw a solid rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020,” Bunce said. “In 2021, it will be important for the general aviation industry to work together with our commercial sector colleagues to keep our interlinked but very fragile supply chain secure, while continuing to engage global regulatory authorities to leverage their mutually recognized safety competencies to keep pace with accelerating technological innovations that improve aviation safety and environmental sustainability and facilitate industry recovery.”
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