GAMA says sales of piston aircraft in the first quarter of 2009 are 55 per cent down on the same period last year

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) stated on 5 May that in the first three months of 2009, deliveries of general aviation airplanes totaled 462 units, a 41.1 percent drop from the same period last year, with industry billings falling 18.2 percent to $4.34 billion.“This is an extremely difficult time for our industry,” said GAMA President and CEO, Pete Bunce.  “We are dealing first and foremost with the severe negative effects of a worldwide economic downturn, but also with unwarranted criticism focused on the industry.  The result has been the cancellation of orders for new airplanes and the loss of more than 15,000 high-paying jobs for American workers over the last several months.  The reality is that the U.S. general aviation industry leads the world in innovation and remains one of the few American industries with a positive balance of trade.”   Bunce added, “We will continue to work with governments around the world to recognize that general aviation can play a key role in propelling the economic recovery.”The piston airplane segment was down 55.1 percent in the first quarter, with 179 units delivered as compared to 399 airplanes in the first three months of 2008.  The turboprop segment was the only segment that experienced growth in the first quarter with 92 units delivered, up from 89 units during the same period in 2008 for a 3.4 percent increase.  Business jet shipments fell 35.7 percent in the first quarter with 191 airplanes delivered, as compared to 297 business jets in the first quarter of 2008.