Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 40 seconds.
During its annual State of the Industry press conference on Feb. 24, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) presented its 2020 year-end general aviation aircraft billings and shipments report, which showed airplane billings reached US$20 billion in 2020 — a decline of approximately 14.8 percent from 2019.
Nicolas Chabbert, GAMA chairman; senior VP of Daher’s Aircraft Division; and CEO of Kodiak Aircraft, said Piston airplane deliveries in 2020 were “steady,” with 1,312 deliveries for the year — a 0.9 percent decrease over 2019. Other segments saw more significant declines. GAMA reported turboprop airplane deliveries declined 15.6 percent, with 443 units, and business jet deliveries declined 20.4 percent, with 644 units.
Chabbert took a moment to note a milestone delivery in 2020 — the first certified electric aircraft, the Pipistrel Velis Electro. Other aircraft that entered service in 2020 were the Bombardier Learjet 75 Liberty; Daher TBM 940 Homesafe; Epic Aircraft E1000; Flight Design F2; Pacific Aerospace Cresco and E-350; Pilatus PC-12 NGX; Piper PA-28-181 Pilot 100i and PA-46-600TP M600/SLS; and Textron King Air 360 and AT-6.
“Our industry doesn’t stop,” said Pete Bunce, GAMA president and CEO. “We had a lot of entrants during 2020 that entered into the marketplace across the spectrum of products from jets, all the way down to the first electric aircraft. And this is exciting times. Not only were these airframes being delivered, but they had very advanced technology onboard. . . . [The] future is really looking bright.”
Textron Aviation, in particular, was the leader in deliveries among general/business aviation OEMs in 2020, delivering a total of 559 aircraft. The Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP was the OEM’s leading type for the year, with 241 total deliveries.
Piper Aircraft had a steady year as well, delivering a total of 244 aircraft. Through its dealer network, Piper retailed 73 new M class aircraft into the marketplace in 2020 — which includes the M350, M500, and M600/SLS.
Embraer’s Phenom 300 series earned the title of most delivered light jet for the ninth consecutive year, with 50 deliveries in 2020. The type has accrued more than 590 deliveries since entering the market in December 2009.
North America had the largest market share for piston, turboprop and biz jet shipments in 2020. Piston engine airplane shipments to North American customers accounted for 67.9 percent of the global deliveries, while turboprop shipments to North America made up 54.9 percent, and business jet shipments to North America accounted for 66 percent of worldwide deliveries.
“Our industry is resilient; it has always been, and still is,” said Chabbert. “I’m very optimistic for 2021, and cannot emphasize [enough] the importance of general aviation to the economy in general, but as an industry on its own.”
Bunce added: “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. [As well, continue] 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.”