||GAMA, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, announced on February 17th, 2010 that shipments of general aviation aircraft sank by a staggering 42.6% from the level of shipments in 2008. Hardest hit were piston engine aircraft followed by business jets. Turboprop aircraft shipments fell by the smallest amount, 17.6%. This news comes after 5 years of growth in the shipment of GA aircraft.
The report attributed the decline in shipments on the major constraints on credit, cutbacks in flying hours and the downsizing/divestiture of existing business jet flight departments. The result has been painful layoffs and furloughs of employees by the aircraft manufacturers.
|At the same time the report pointed out that growth outside of the United States was the fastest growing segment of general aviation, showing the worldwide recognition of the importance of general aviation to business activities. It is interesting to note that the shipment of general aviation aircraft really began to take a nosedive after Congress lambasted the auto manufacturers for using business jets to commute to Washington, DC to feed at the government trough. One price extracted from these companies was to require them to divest their companies of business aircraft while at the same time the leaders in Congress, like Nancy Pelosi, increased their use of business jets provided to members of Congress.
While there is no way to directly measure the effect the actions of Congress have had on general aviation aircraft sales, we can see that the number of business jets for sale today as a percentage of the overall fleet size is at historic highs. Banks, regulated by the government, are demanding more and more of borrowers, and it is hard to believe the banks aren't also looking at business aircraft ownership when considering what to loan a company. On the other hand, Brian Foley, a business aviation analyst, has projected that business jet sales will rise at an annual rate of 2.7% annually over the next decade. He threw out the 2008 and 2009 numbers as anomalies and predicts 8,900 bizjets will be built over the next 10 years. Another interesting prediction by Foley was his fuel consumption forecast. He predicts annual consumption of aviation fuel of 2.5 billion gallons, a 57% increase in fuel consumption over 2009. At the same time he predicted the roller coaster aviation business cycle trends will continue with periodic boom and lean times. How is your flight department doing? Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 You Americans build airplanes like a Rolex watch. Knock it off the night table and it stops ticking. We build airplanes like a cheap alarm clock. But knock if off the table and it still wakes you up. — Alexander Tupolev, to Kelly Johnson and Ben Rich, quoted in 'Skunk Works.'