Piper Aircraft says it significantly strengthened its position as a global aircraft manufacturer during 2010 - the first full year under the ownership of investment firm Imprimis.

"Piper has made memorable and notable progress in a number of important areas," says Piper chief executive Geoffrey Berger. "We delivered considerably more aircraft, introduced and stepped up development of an all-new single-engine business jet, and readied the company for an unprecedented global push in 2011."

While fourth-quarter and full-year Piper deliveries will not be publicly announced until February, Piper says production activity at the company's Vero Beach, Florida-based manufacturing facility in 2010 was up by more than 75% compared with 2009, despite a significant overall decline in industry deliveries by other manufacturers.

PiperJet Altaire
 © Piper
Piper introduced the Altaire to its range in 2010 - a larger evolution of the all-metal PiperJet

"This substantial market share increase reflected Piper's aggressive globalisation efforts," it says. These include three new sales offices to serve the Americas, European, Middle East and Africa regions. "The globalisation initiative has already begun to pay off with foreign sales accounting for more than half of the company's new aircraft sales by dollar and unit volume for the first time in recent Piper history," says Piper.

Following the Imprimis acquisition in 2009, Piper says it has developed a financial strategy to invest new capital alongside internal free cashflow in the company's long-term success focused in a number of critical areas.

The most important step was the introduction in October of the Altaire - a larger, sleeker evolution of the all-metal PiperJet. "The company's shareholders are dedicated to bringing the single-engine business jet to fruition while also investing [through equity rather than debt] to modernise Piper's existing products and operations to ensure that Piper products are profitable and sustainable going forward," it says.

Source: Flight International