Business aircraft manufacturers expect deliveries to increase but orders to slow this year, as the faltering US economy hits sales.

Last year saw increased deliveries and record backlogs, says the US General Aircraft Manufacturers Association (GAMA), but companies do not expect to repeat record orders. The business aircraft boom may have peaked in 2000.

GAMA members shipped 2,816 aircraft worth $8.6 billion last year, up 12.5% and 9% respectively. Turbine aircraft deliveries rose 19.4% to 903 units, and piston aircraft shipments by 10.8% to 1,913. Totals were boosted by the introduction of new models. The ramp-up in deliveries of the new Bombardier Learjet 45 and Cessna Citation Excel "super light" business jets accounted for most of the increase in turbofan shipments.


First deliveries of the New Piper Malibu Meridian single-handledly boosted the turboprop sector, while higher piston aircraft deliveries reflected the first full year of Cirrus SR20 production.

Current projections suggest shipments will increase again this year as manufacturers work off their record order backlogs. The year will also see deliveries start of the Premier I light business jet, to boost Raytheon's figures.

Gulfstream booked a record 42 orders in the final quarter of 2000 and president Bill Boisture says 2001 has "started stronger" than last year. Cessna chairman Gary Hay expects 2001 to be "more normal" after record orders last year.

Source: Flight International