The General Aviation Manufacturers Association released its first quarter 2023 shipments and billings report for GA manufacturers. With shipments in piston and turboprops up slightly as compared to the first quarter of 2022—10.1 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively—and jets off by less than a percentage point, total billings softened slightly from $3.8 billion in Q1 2022 to $3.7 billion this year for the same period. Rotorcraft deliveries registered a stronger increase, with deliveries up nearly 50 percent in quarter-over-quarter figures.
While the numbers indicate the market is holding steady, there are signs of concern. Bottlenecks in certification and supply chain, and a minor downtick in business jet operations—depending on whom you speak with—continue to produce drag on an industry seeking to innovate sustainable and efficient solutions in the face of outside attacks on the use of private aviation.
GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce was blunt about the success of the industry in spite of that friction.
“The continued health of the general aviation manufacturing industry is encouraging, particularly in light of persistent supply chain, workforce, and North American regulatory process challenges,” said Bunce in a statement from GAMA with the report. “Our manufacturers are focused on meeting this thriving product demand with new aircraft which incorporate advanced technologies that further enhance safety and fuel performance. During this transformative time in aerospace, our manufacturers continually demonstrate that our sector is the technology incubator for safety and sustainability.”
Outside Pressure Creating Friction
The events of the past week drew Bunce’s comments to a specific point. “This message is being emphasized this week at [the European Business Aviation Conference and Expo] in Geneva and will also be a focus at the Paris Air Show as we counter the shortsighted, irrational attacks directed upon business aviation in Europe.
“In stark contrast, emphasis on our demonstrated record of environmental sustainability leadership was very well received on Capitol Hill in early May when GAMA member company leaders participated in more than 125 meetings with U.S. legislators. Other issues discussed with senators and representatives across the political spectrum included the immediate need for a confirmed FAA administrator, improved training for the young FAA workforce, strengthened bilateral engagement, and timely passage of an FAA reauthorization bill to provide clear, multiyear direction for the agency.”
The full downloadable report can be found here.
First Quarter 2023 Shipments and Billings
|Aircraft Type||2022||2023||Percent Change|
|Total Airplane Billings||$3.8B||$3.7B||-3.5%|
|Total Helicopter Billings||$0.5B||$0.8B||59.9%|