Aircraft makers logged collective increases in shipments and revenue in every category during the first nine months of 2022, though the General Aviation Manufacturers Association noted a need to address both immediate and long-term challenges.
The quarterly announcement of the latest data supplied by GAMA member companies noted single-digit increases across piston and turbine airplanes and helicopters, the largest among these an 8.8-percent increase in piston airplane deliveries through October, compared to the first nine months of 2021. Airplane billing increased 4.8 percent to $14.1 billion, compared to the first three quarters of 2021.
Cirrus Aircraft, the longtime piston airplane market leader, also helped drive a small overall increase in jet airplane deliveries, up 1.8 percent overall, with 446 aircraft delivered compared to 438 through the end of October 2021. Cirrus posted an overall increase in airframe deliveries from 339 to 366, comparing the first nine months of 2021 and 2022. The SF50 Vision Jet also picked up the pace, with 53 delivered through October 31, compared to 46 during the same period in 2021. That seven-airframe increase was enough to drive an uptick in a segment that would otherwise have been nearly unchanged.
Textron Aviation posted strong numbers across its turboprop models, including 8 Cessna Caravan and 40 Grand Caravan deliveries in the first nine months of the year, along with another 48 Beechcraft King Airs (all models). Turbine strength offset softer piston sales, with 176 Textron Aviation piston deliveries reported for the first nine months of the year, up from 156 for the same period in 2021, but down from 235 piston aircraft delivered through the first nine months of 2020. While a company spokesperson noted in a May email that Beechcraft Bonanza and Baron models were back in production with new interior designs, and the seventy-fifth anniversary limited edition Bonanza announced in 2021 had “sold out,” no deliveries of either aircraft have been noted in the GAMA reports since 2020.
GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce, commenting on the latest release of numbers, noted that demand for GA aircraft “remains hardy as our industry continues to strategically navigate ongoing challenges” including supply chain disruption and a shortage of workers.
“As we look to the future, we must focus attention on the need for training of the regulator workforce and leveraging of bi-lateral safety agreements between regulatory bodies to improve both certification and validation processes,” Bunce said, adding that advancing technology will increase efficiency of existing propulsion systems, as well as allowing (with regulator approval) deployment of new propulsion systems that use a combination of current and future fuels to store energy, including batteries and hydrogen, “all of which are important to meeting our business aviation commitment of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”