The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced first quarter shipment and billings figures. Total industry billings were up 16.1 percent to $ 5.3 billion, an all-time high for the first quarter, while total shipments were down by 7.5 percent.
"This past quarter´s overall industry billings remain impressive, with the turbine segments showing dramatic increases. The trend of increasing market share occurring outside of North America continues for most manufacturers. It is apparent, however, that current uncertainty in the U.S. economy is having an affect on some of the offerings in the piston spectrum of aircraft,” said Pete Bunce, GAMA president and CEO. “Last year, 67 percent of piston deliveries were to the North American market, making this segment the most susceptible to softness in the U.S. economy. However, as worldwide markets continue to expand, we see more capability to insulate manufacturers from the economic dynamics of any one specific region."
Piston-powered airplane shipments totaled 399 units compared to 554 units delivered in the first quarter of 2007, a 28.0 percent decrease. Turboprop shipments increased from 79 units in the first quarter last year to 85 units in 2008. Business jet shipments totaled 297 units in the first quarter of 2008, a remarkable 40.8 percent increase over the 211 units delivered in the first quarter of 2007.GAMA Chairman and Chairman and CEO of Cirrus Design Corporation, Alan Klapmeier, said, “Customers have told our manufacturers that bonus depreciation, made part of the U.S. economic stimulus package in February, is generating new sales within the piston segment. Although the provision applies to both piston and turbine engine aircraft, we believe that in light of current backlog, the piston manufacturers will benefit more proportionately because bonus depreciation applies to purchases made in 2008 with delivery in 2008 or 2009. GAMA supported the inclusion of this provision in the stimulus bill and we thank the President and Congress for recognizing the important boost this legislation can give to our customers, manufacturers and all the economies affected by this dynamic industry."