Shipments of fixed-wing business and general aviation aircraft rose across all three sectors in 2018, as the long-awaited industry rebound finally began to appear.
General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) data shows that deliveries of business jets, turboprops and piston-engined aircraft climbed by 4.7%, to 2,443 units, for the 12 months ended 31 December – representing a 1.5% rise in the total shipment value, to $20.6 billion.
“This is the first year since 2013 that we’ve seen all segments up in deliveries,” says Pete Bunce, chief executive of the Washington DC-based trade body. He attributes this to the introduction of a host new products over the past two years, “especially in the lighter jet segments”, as well as strong demand from North America – the world’s largest market for business and general aviation aircraft.
Business jet manufacturers shipped 703 aircraft in 2018 – a 26-unit, or 3.8%, year-on-year increase, GAMA reveals. Deliveries of turboprop aircraft rose by 5.2%, to 601, compared with 563 in 2017, while piston aircraft output climbed by 154 units, to 1,139 single- and twin-engined types.
Bunce says that while impact of the 35-day partial shutdown of the US government is “still being felt and assessed,” the outlook for the coming 12 months is positive – particularly at the top end of the market.
“Recent type certifications and other certifications in the product queue bode well for the large airplane segment, which is set to continue its strength.”
Approvals in the preceding months have included the Bombardier Global 7500 and Gulfstream G500, while validations are close for the G600, as well as the Cessna Citation Longitude.