Business and general aviation aircraft manufactures delivered 390 units in the first quarter of 2010 - 15% fewer than in the first three months of 2009, says the US General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

But industry billings climbed by more than 7% during the same period to $4.64 million, boosted by the burgeoning international demand for large-cabin business jets. This tally is 12.6% below the same period for 2008, says GAMA, which represents the interests of 65 manufacturers of fixed-wing aircraft, engines, avionics, and components.

"These numbers are being released on the heels of Europe's premier business aviation show, the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition, where many of our manufacturers noted that the market seems to be stabilising," said GAMA president Pete Bunce.

"Reported flight activity from the Federal Aviation Administration and Eurocontrol is on an upward trend and the used aircraft inventory is slowly decreasing. However, these first quarter figures reveal that our industry is far from a recovery," Bunce warns.

The struggling piston engine aircraft makers delivered 166 aircraft in the first quarter, compared with 179 in the first three months of 2009. In the same period, turboprop shipments fell by 29 units to 60 single- and twin-engined types, while business jet units fell from 191 to 164 aircraft - a 14% drop.

Source: Flight International