Cessna's production slowdown of light jets dragged down the entire industry's delivery results in the second quarter, despite strong increases in large cabin jets and non-agricultural turboprops, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
Overall shipments of business jets and non-agricultural turboprops in the second quarter amounted to 294 aircraft, a 4.2% reduction from the same period a year ago.
The decline fell hardest in the light jet sector where Cessna announced a production slowdown in the second quarter, which corporate officials blamed on lower demand at profitable sales margins.
Cessna had previously delivered aircraft at depressed prices in order to keep production rates higher. But corporate executives at parent Textron decided at the beginning of the second quarter to only build aircraft to meet demand for aircraft at prices that are not heavily discounted.
As a result, combined deliveries of the Cessna's entry-level Mustang, light Citation Jet (CJ) family and super-light XLS+ plummeted to only 22 aircraft, or 24 fewer than released to customers in the second quarter of last year, GAMA's data shows.
Those declines overwhelmed higher deliveries in the same sector of Embraer's entry-level Phenom 100 and light Phenom 300, which increased 35% year-on-year to 23 aircraft combined.
Meanwhile, the industry's hottest sector continued to be large and long-range jets. Boosted partly by new deliveries of the Gulfstream G650, the large cabin sector rose nearly 23% to 78 aircraft compared to last year, according to GAMA.
Overall turboprop deliveries totaled 140 aircraft, but that number includes combined deliveries of 49 cropdusters made by Air Tractor and Thrush Aircraft.
In the non-agricultural segment, turboprop manufacturers reported shipping 91 aircraft, or 9.5% more than a year ago. Beechcraft's re-emergence earlier this year from bankruptcy protection helped improve shipments, as the company delivered 10 more aircraft from King Air family compared to last year and 24 overall.
Demand for midsize and super midsize aircraft was impacted during the quarter by the demise of Hawker-series business jet production. Last year, Hawker Beechcraft delivered seven Hawker 900XPs and two Hawker 4000s, but those lines were closed as the company re-emerged from bankruptcy as Beechcraft.
The absence of Hawker jets masked modest gains made during the quarter by Bombardier's midsize Learjet 60XR and super mid-size Challenger 300, as well as Gulfstream's midsize G150 and super midsize G280 jets.
Cessna did not deliver any Citation Sovereigns and Citation Xs in the second quarter, as the company waits to resume production after completing certification of major updates on both models later this year and early next year.