World General Aviation Aircraft Deliveries Increase as Revenues Slump at Gulfstream and Bombardier

U.S. manufacturers delivered 363 aircraft in Q2 2017 – up 8 units, or 2.3%, from Q2 2016

by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent.

The Cirrus SR22T (piston) was the best-selling general aviation aircraft worldwide in Q2 2017, with 50 units delivered – up from 47 in Q2 2016.
Photo Courtesy of Cirrus Aircraft

According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the second quarter of 2017 showed mixed results for the industry, but with several bright spots. Fixed-wing general aviation aircraft manufacturers delivered 561 aircraft worldwide in Q2 2017, up 2.6 percent from 547 in Q2 2016. At the same time, however, revenues declined 1.2 percent, to $5.3 billion, driven by lower revenues at Gulfstream and Bombardier.

U.S. manufacturers delivered 363 aircraft in Q2 2017, up from 355 in Q2 2016 – a 2.3 percent increase in shipments. U.S. manufacturers accounted for 65 percent of worldwide shipments in the second quarter (same as in Q2 2016).

In Q2 2017, the Cirrus SR22T (piston) was the most popular fixed-wing general aviation aircraft, with 50 units delivered (+3 from Q2 2016). The Cessna CE-172S Skyhawk SP (piston) follows in second place with 31 shipments – up from 20 in Q2 2016. The Cirrus SR22 (piston) takes third place with 30 jets delivered (-14 from 44 in Q2 2016), ahead of Gulfstream’s G450/G550/G650 family of large jets, the Pilatus PC-12 (turboprop), the TECNAM ASTM-LSA (piston), the Diamond DA40 (piston), the Bombardier Global 5000/6000 (jet), the Diamond DA42 (piston), and Cessna’s CE-680A Citation Latitude midsize business jet.

When general aviation aircraft manufacturers are ranked by revenues, the business jet manufacturers take the lead. Gulfstream boasted the highest revenue of all fixed-wing aircraft manufacturers in Q2 2017 with total sales of $1.6 billion (down 13.2% from the same period last year). Gulfstream has been the world’s largest general aviation aircraft manufacturer by revenue since 2013. In second place is Bombardier (first place in 2012) with Q2 2017 sales of $1.5 billion, down 5.2 percent from Q2 2016. Textron Aviation (Cessna + Beechcraft) is the overall leader by units sold but only ranks third by revenues with $701 million in Q2 2017, up from $665 million in the second quarter of last year.

When PC-24 deliveries commence at the end of 2017, revenues for Swiss manufacturer Pilatus can be expected to increase sharply. With the HA-420, Honda has secured a position among the top 10 general aviation aircraft manufacturers and is set for continued sales growth in the coming years as production ramps up. In the coming years, we will also see a number of new large jets enter the market, including Bombardier’s Global 7000/Global 8000 and Dassault’s Falcon 8X. With these product launches, Bombardier and Dassault aim to take market shares away from the very successful Gulfstream G650.

Recent History & Market Dynamics

The recession from December 2007 to June 2009 had a massive impact on the general aviation aircraft manufacturing industry, as sales of business jets and piston-engine aircraft collapsed and are, as of 2017, not even close to their 2007 peak levels. From 2007-2010, the global production of general aviation aircraft dropped a staggering 52.8 percent – from 4,276 aircraft in 2007 to 2,020 in 2010. In the United States, production by manufacturers dropped 59.3 percent over that timeframe – from 3,279 units to 1,334.

A major reason why deliveries of general aviation aircraft are still way below their 2007 peak levels, both worldwide and in the U.S., is that the price per aircraft has doubled. From 2007 to 2016, the average price of a piston-engine aircraft – the most common type – soared from $328,000 to $712,000. That increase is keeping many would-be buyers out of the market. Also, the average price of a business jet rose from $12.5 million to $22.4 million over the same period. At the same time, the average price of turboprops has declined from $3.5 million to $2.9 million, resulting in a surge in shipments of this type of aircraft.

The market for general aviation aircraft is highly cyclical, and the small business jet and piston-engine aircraft segments in particular suffer in a down economy. Perhaps surprisingly to some, the large business jet segment emerged unscathed from the 2007-09 recession.

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The Forecast International Civil Aircraft service covers all facets of the fixed-wing commercial and private aviation industry. It includes more than 70 detailed reports, complete with production forecasts on individual civil aircraft families. Four Market Segment Analyses provide in-depth examination of the markets for Large Commercial Jet Transports, Regional Aircraft, Business Jets, and General Aviation/Utility Aircraft. Included in the reports are production forecasts, a Forecast Rationale detailing the basis for the forecast, the aircraft’s price range and technical specifications, a program history, and recent developments.Forecast FI LogoReferences:

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