No blackening of skies, yet

GAMA, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, provides great data on the industry, and its latest quarterly delivery report shows that the predicted – and feared – explosion in the VLJ market is more like a slow burn.

VLJs.jpg In the first six months of this year, VLJ deliveries totalled 31 aircraft – 10 Citation Mustangs and 21 Eclipse 500s. But that is 30 more VLJs than last year. Eclipse may be struggling to ramp up deliveries, but Cessna says it will ship 44 Mustangs this year, 100 in 2008 and 150 in 2009. That’s not exactly blackening the skies but, for a single bizjet type, those are numbers this industry is not used to.Another interesting data point can be found in United Technologies’ latest quarterly earnings release. The parent company of Pratt & Whitney has begun publishing delivery figures and they are illuminating, revealing that Pratt & Whiney Canada shipped 1,335 small turbine engines in the first six months of the year. That puts it well on the way to beating its 2006 total of 2,436 engines by a substantial margin – 2,436 engines! By comparison, “big” Pratt delivered just under 400 large commercial engines last year.

Dr Sam Williams’ little engine company doesn’t publish delivery figures, but must be doing fairly well – its FJ44 powering almost 100 Cessna CJs and Beechcraft Premiers shipped in the first half. The big boost will come next couple of years, though, when Williams FJ33-powered Diamond D-Jets, Cirrus Jets and Adam A700s begin rolling of the line. GAMA’s quarterly delivery reports will make interesting reading then.

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