Third-quarter general aviation shipment figures released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) on 9 November reveal that the health of the business-aviation market is not yet on the mend.

For the first nine months of 2010, business jet deliveries declined by 20% to 491, compared with 616 for the same period in 2009. Turboprop and piston deliveries for the first three quarters were down to 232 and 634, respectively, a 20% and 7% decline, respectively. Total billings, buoyed by large-aircraft deliveries, were relatively flat, dropping by only 2.5% to $13.47 billion from $13.82 billion for the same period last year.

The main recipient of the aircraft shipments so far this year has been the USA, with 73% of the 1,357 business jets, turboprops and piston-powered aircraft delivered. Europe was second, with 241 aircraft, 18% of the total.

By manufacturer, Bombardier led the pack in terms of total billings, at $3.5 billion. Best selling among the Canadian airframer's line were the Global 5000 and Global Express XRS, with 35 aircraft delivered. Gulfstream was a close second, with $3.1 billion in billing, primarily from the 57 G350, G450, G500 and G550 models. Dassault came in third, with $2.7 billion in bookings, primarily from 29 Falcon 7X shipments.

In the VIP sector, Airbus delivered 11 of its corporate jet products, valued at $880 million, while Boeing came up much shorter, with six Boeing Business Jets delivered, at $355 million.

"Despite another drop in total shipments and billings, we believe that the longer-term outlook for general aviation is positive," says Pete Bunce, GAMA chief executive. "Recovery indicators continue to fluctuate, but one positive indicator - the investment in new airplanes and technology - is solid. GA manufacturers are clearly looking toward the future and will be poised for a strong return when the economy fully recovers."

Source: Flight International