Piper Aircraft will break from a recent company tradition of boom-and-bust product introductions and strictly limit deliveries of its newest and most advanced aircraft model, says chief executive Simon Caldecott.
The first delivery of the six-seat, single-engined M600 turboprop on 13 July will still play a critical role in Piper’s growth plan, but not at the cost of over-extending the company’s’ production system.
“We will be eliminating production of new M600s. Unlike previous new model introductions that have seen large numbers during their inaugural year, this will not be the case with the M600. So get your orders in soon. We’re already sold out for this year, and we’re taking orders for 2017,” Caldecott says.
Piper plans maintain M600 production at an annual rate of 35 aircraft. In previous model introductions, such as with the Meridian and Matrix, Piper ramped up production quickly. Piper certificated the Meridian in 2000 and delivered 98 models the next year. The Matrix achieved certification in 2008, the same year Piper delivered 101 of them. In both cases, output plummeted at least 70% the following year.
“People want the early units,” Caldecott concedes. “Well, you’re going to have to wait, so get your orders in now. I’m not going to be going crazy producing high numbers one year and low numbers the next. I want a nice sustainable production [rate].”