US GENERAL-AVIATION aircraft manufacturers posted an almost 34% increase in billings, to $595 million, for the first three months of 1995 and shipped 207 aircraft, an increase of more than 14% over the 1994 first quarter. The recovery was led by increased shipments of turboprop-powered aircraft, says the US General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

Turboprop shipments soared by more than 40%, to 52 aircraft, boosted by increased deliveries of Raytheon Beech King Airs (12 versus eight) and 1900D regional-airliners (16 versus 12). Raytheon, shipped three Starship 2000As in the first quarter and has already sold two in the second quarter, equaling sales for all of 1993 and 1994.

Fairchild Aircraft delivered only one Metro 23 regional airliner in the first quarter, but shipped five C-26A military versions to the US Air Force, and so beat its first-quarter 1994 total of three aircraft.

Business-jet shipments declined by almost 10%, to 47 aircraft, because of lower deliveries by Cessna. The company delivered fewer CitationJets (ten versus 17) and no Citation IIs or VIs, which are no longer in production and which will be replaced by the Citation Bravo in 1996 and the Excel in 1997, respectively.

Cessna's first-quarter shipments were boosted by the delivery of 20 Caravan turboprop singles, up from 13 in 1994, but business-jet sales were down, from 29 to 19, and the company shipped 39 aircraft overall, compared with 42 in 1994.

Learjet delivered more mid-sized Learjet 60s (11 versus five), which compensated for the drop in shipments of the light Learjet 31A (from seven to three). Raytheon's business-jet shipments were steady at nine aircraft, with the mid-sized Hawker 800 accounting for six deliveries. Gulfstream delivered five GIVs, up from two in the 1994 first quarter.

Piston shipments were up by 17%, to 108 aircraft, boosted by increased deliveries at American Champion (12 versus seven), Commander Aircraft (ten versus five), Maule Aircraft (18 versus nine), Mooney Aircraft (18 versus 12) and Piper Aircraft (36 versus 30). Shipments of Raytheon Beech piston products declined, from 28 to 13.

Mooney's performance was boosted by sales of its mid-range Ovation piston-single. The company shipped 12 in the first quarter, compared with 19 for the whole of 1994.

Source: Flight International