Other manufacturers see deliveries slide, with turboprop market collapse most severe

General aviation manufacturers have reported a steep decline in aircraft deliveries for the first half of the year, but a few companies bucked the downward trend. Cessna business jet shipments increased and Cirrus Design continued to ramp up production of its piston singles.

According to the US General Aviation Manufacturers Association, worldwide deliveries of business jets slid almost 10% over the same period last year, to 357 units; piston aircraft shipments fell more than 13% to 737; and turboprop deliveries plummeted more than 45% to 111 aircraft.

The collapse of the turboprop market is responsible for most of the decline. Deliveries of Raytheon King Airs fell by almost two-thirds from a year ago, to just 24 aircraft. Piper shipped only 11 single-turboprop Meridians, down from 51, while Cessna Caravan and Pilatus PC-12 deliveries also declined, offset by small increases in EADS Socata TBM700 and Piaggio P180 Avanti shipments.

Cessna shipped 149 Citations, up nine from the same period last year, while Bombardier delivered 74 jets, down 40, with only Challenger shipments holding up. The ramp up of Premier I deliveries at Raytheon offset a decline in Beechjet 400Aand Hawker 800XP shipments and the half-year total was only three down, at 43 aircraft.

The piston-single market was mixed: Cessna deliveries fell over 40% to 236 aircraft, while Cirrus shipments almost doubled to 168 aircraft. Cirrus increased SR20/22 production to two per working day in July and will reach three a day in the first quarter of next year, when it could become the leading manufacturer of four-seat light aircraft. Cessna, which says US domestic sales of piston singles are picking up, expects to deliver 600 singles this year and 700 next year.

Business jet manufacturers are still waiting for sustained signs of a market recovery. Gulfstream parent General Dynamics says orders are "on or ahead of target", despite a "disappointing" second quarter for the super mid-size G200. The company still expects to deliver just over 60 GIVs and GVs by year end, down from 71 last year.

Raytheon, the most troubled of business aircraft manufacturers, is on track to meet its reduced delivery forecast of 148 jets and turboprops this year, down from 217 last year. But, as of July, six Beechjets, eight Hawkers and 24 King Airs scheduled for delivery in the second half of the year remained unsold.

Source: Flight International