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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

GAMA Sees General Aviation Industry as a 'Mixed Bag'

Woodrow Bellamy III

The multi-billion dollar general aviation industry had increases in aircraft shipments and declines in airplane billings in 2012, results that the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) called a “mixed bag."

According to GAMA's annual State of the General Aviation Industry report, the 2,133 airplane shipments in 2012 was an increase of less than 1 percent year over year, with airplane billings declining slightly year over year to $18.9 billion, a drop from $19 billion in 2011.There were fewer deliveries of business jets and pistons planes in 2012 as well, but those were offset by deliveries of turboprop planes which increased by 10 percent last year.

 “The 2012 shipments frankly were a little mixed,” said Mottier, the new GAMA chairman. “But don’t let the numbers fool you, more than 20 new fixed wing aircraft and helicopters are in development at GAMA companies."

Mottier described a shift in the global market distribution of GA product shipments over the last four years going away from North America, and a rise in shipments of fixed-wing aircraft to emerging markets such as the Asia Pacific and Latin American markets.In 2012, shipments in piston, turboprop and business jets to North America shrunk to 50 percent.

“This shift signifies the more global nature of GA sales and it is reflected in our member companies which are expanding their operations globally — to better manage and service their products, they’re selling to global markets,” said Mottier.

Shipments of GA airplanes to emerging markets such as the Asia Pacific and South American regions have annually increased over the past four years, and GAMA expects those numbers to continue to grow. Demand for agricultural aircraft, planes that have been modified for agricultural use, is specifically in high demand in emerging markets.

Agricultural aircraft was a segment added to GAMA membership in 2012.

GAMA officials discussed the need to reform the way government agencies regulate aircraft components and introduction of new technologies that could lead to enhanced safety, and reduce aviation accidents caused by stalls and other common incidents.

GAMA President Pete Bunce also discussed the potential impact of the pending sequester on the economy, and the discussion of the change in the tax depreciation schedule on business jets. 

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