Aircraft shipments by US general aviation manufacturers showed the first signs of a slowdown in the first quarter, although total billings were boosted to a record $2.1 billion by an increase in business jet deliveries.

According to figures from the US General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), shipments by member companies slipped 7.3% to 568 aircraft compared with last year's first quarter. Although business jet deliveries rose 7.4%, to 146 aircraft, shipments of turboprop- and piston- powered aircraft both fell, the latter by 13.3%, to 347 aircraft. Cessna shipped 27 fewer piston aircraft in the first quarter, New Piper 20 and Raytheon 12.

New Piper's piston output dropped because it has halted production of the Malibu Mirage in favour of the single-turboprop Meridian. Although 25 Meridians were delivered in the first quarter, turboprop shipments fell 2.6%, to 85 aircraft. Raytheon delivered almost 50% fewer King Airs and Beech 1900Ds compared with the same period last year.

Overall, business jet shipments were up, although Bombardier Learjet 31A and Raytheon Beechjet 400A deliveries slipped slightly. Cessna delivered 62 Citations, and Boeing Business Jets the first two stretched BBJ2s.o, taking its total for the quarter to five.

Source: Flight International