The General Aviation Manufacturers Association issued its Q2 2017 shipment report and the results were mixed. Mike Potts analyses the statistics on new airplane shipments to sift the positive trends from the negative…

Total aircraft deliveries for H1 2017 came in at 995 units, 2.7% ahead of H1 2016, largely on the back of a strong performance in the piston market. Billings totaled $9.0bn, lagging last year’s total by $0.4bn, and reflects continued weakness in the top end of the jet market and some softness in the traditional turboprop market, particularly in the twin-engine segment.

As reported by GAMA, jet deliveries were 1% ahead of last year at 295 units (versus 292); turboprops totaled 232 deliveries (versus 234 last year); and Pistons were a particularly bright spot with 468 units, up 5.6% from the 443 delivered last year.



The Jet Market

The overall performance of the jet market was mixed, with five OEMs ahead of their H1 2016 totals, three down from a year ago and two finishing even. To put this in perspective, however, it’s necessary to note that the three companies with reduced totals are in the top four positions for jet deliveries.

Leading the jet market by a fairly wide margin was Cessna (81 units), which enjoyed a strong performance from its new Latitude.

The Latitude recorded 23 deliveries in H1 2017. The next best-selling Cessna jet was the M2 (15 units), followed by the CJ3+ (11 – less than half the Latitude’s total and offering strong support to the theory that new aircraft models such as the Latitude can drive significant sales growth.

Bombardier captured second place in jet sales with 65 units, down from the 73 units reported in H1 2016. Bombardier’s weakness was mostly found in Q2 2017 when it shipped 36 units (versus 42 in Q2 2016).

Gulfstream made 60 deliveries, down a single unit from H1 2016. Like Bombardier, Gulfstream’s Q2 2017 was weaker than a year ago, down four units from 34 to 30. Embraer, meanwhile, finished in fourth place with 39 units, down from 49 in H1 2016. Q2 2017 was closer to Embraer’s prior year total at 24 units, down from 26.

In the middle of the jet market things were looking a little better. Newcomer Honda is beginning to hit its deliveries stride, and captured fifth place with 24 units, up from 10 in the same period last year. Dassault, which only reports on the half year cycle, was in sixth place with 17 units for H1 2017 (up from 15 in H1 2016).

The remaining four companies in the jet market all had results in single-digit range, and thus had limited impact on the overall market. These included One Aviation (four, level-pegging with 2016), Boeing (three, up from one a year ago), Cirrus (two, up from zero), and Airbus (no deliveries in either year). Cirrus reportedly has a strong backlog, so we can expect to see SF-50 shipments advance in H2 2017.


The Turboprop Market

Among the nine builders of traditional business turboprop aircraft, four had improved results from a year ago and five were off their 2016 pace. The companies with downturns were among the bigger players, so the impact of the unit reductions was greater.

Among the traditional business turboprops the market is not doing nearly as well as GAMA’s headline numbers suggest. Subtracting agricultural turboprop deliveries, units have totaled 146 units so far in 2017, down from 165 in H1 2016 (a reduction of 11.52%). This included 55 units in Q1 2017 and 91 in Q2, down from 68 in Q1 2016 and 97 in Q2.

Much of the weakness in turboprops is in the multi-engine category where the 31 units delivered so far this year is down 34% from the 50 units GAMA listed a year ago.

Beechcraft and Pilatus tied for first place in traditional business turboprops with 31 units each (both were down from a year ago when Beechcraft had 49 and Pilatus 38). The next four turboprop companies were bunched fairly tightly, with Daher in third place (23 in H1 2016, up from 18 last year), followed by Cessna (22, down from 32); then Piper (19, up from eight), and Quest (17, up from 16).

The balance of the turboprop market was made up of Chinese AVIC (two, up from zero), Pacific Aerospace (one, down from three), and Piaggio (zero, down from one).

In the piston market Cirrus was the unsurprising leader with 149 units, followed distantly by Cessna with 98 and Diamond with 67. Collectively Cirrus, Cessna and Diamond accounted for 67% of the total piston market.


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