MIAMI – The General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s (GAMA) year-end general aviation aircraft billing and shipments report showed a decrease in aircraft delivery value of US$4.5bn, reflecting the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the aviation industry.

The report outlined a slight decline in the total piston aircraft delivery, while the deliveries of turboprops, commercial jets and helicopters saw a larger declining.

Deliveries of business and general aviation aircraft were US$22.8bn in 2020 compared to US$27.3bn in 2019. Total billing for fixed-wing aircraft decreased by 14.8% to US$20bn in 2020.

The largest decline was in business jet deliveries, which fell to 609 compared to 809 in 2019. Textron Aviation built 74 less aircraft in 2020, while Gulfstream’s deliveries were down 20 and Bombardier’s down 28.

Piston aircraft deliveries only fell by 0.9% from 2019 to 2020. This is lower than 9.7% of the total change in aircraft deliveries. GAMA also reported that most of the market shipments of piston engines were from North America.

Comments from GAMA

Pete Bunce, the GAMA CEO and president said, “As expected, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted general aviation and stifled the industry’s growth.”

He also stated that despite challenges, “all signs point to strong demand for our products and services that are unfortunately being constrained by pandemic induced supply chain limitations and a vast array of disjointed barriers to air travel across national borders.”

During GAMA’s remotely hosted 2021 “State of the Industry” press conference, Nicolas Chabbert, GAMA chairman and Senior Vice President of the aircraft manufacturer Daher, noted that 2020 also saw the first certified electrical aircraft delivered in the piston airplane segment.

Chabbert also stated that the largest market share was again in the North American market with the Asian-Pacific coming in second.

Gulfstream III Parked | Photo: Luca Flores/Airways

Demand for Pilots

Nicolas Chabbert highlighted the continued need for pilots despite the pandemic’s impact on the aviation industry.

Chabbert stated, “There is still a high demand for pilots and in particular for younger pilots. I was very struck to see that students started in the United States in 2020 were actually 3% higher.

He continued, “As we speak, there are nearly 50,000 students. This will probably last for a considerable amount of time.”

Pete Bunce said, “It is encouraging to see that our sector segments in the fourth quarter of 2020 experienced a solid recovery,”

Featured Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways