World General Aviation Aircraft Shipments Up 7% in Third Quarter 2018

U.S. Manufacturers Deliver 416 Aircraft in Third Quarter – Up 39 Units from Q3 2017

by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent, Forecast International.

Swiss general aviation aircraft manufacturer Pilatus Aircraft had a stellar third quarter, with billings up 44 percent thanks to a record six deliveries of its new PC-24 business jet. Photo Courtesy: Pilatus Aircraft Ltd.

According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), in the third quarter of 2018, compared to the same period last year, manufacturers reported higher deliveries but nearly flat revenues. Fixed-wing general aviation aircraft manufacturers delivered 568 aircraft worldwide in Q3 2018, up 7.2 percent from 530 in Q3 2017. Revenues (billings), however, only increased 0.8 percent to $4.1 billion due to lower revenues at Gulfstream, Bombardier and Textron.

U.S. manufacturers delivered 416 aircraft in Q3 2018, up from 377 in Q3 2017 – an impressive 10.3 percent increase. U.S. manufacturers accounted for 73 percent of worldwide shipments in the third quarter, up from 71 percent in the third quarter of last year.

In Q3 2018, the Cirrus SR22 (piston) was the most popular fixed-wing general aviation aircraft with 41 units delivered (+9 from Q3 2017). The Cirrus SR22T (piston) took second place with 40 shipments – down from 41 in Q3 2017, followed by Piper’s PA-28-181 Archer III (piston) with 34 shipments, up 12 from last year. In fourth place is the Cessna CE-172S Skyhawk SP (piston) with 30 units delivered, ahead of Gulfstream’s G550 / G650 large business jet variants, Cessna’s CE-208B Grand Caravan EX (turboprop), the Pilatus PC-12 (turboprop), Tecnam’s ASTM – LSA (piston), the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet, the Diamond DA62 (piston), and Embraer’s Phenom 300 (jet).

When general aviation aircraft manufacturers are ranked by revenues, the business jet manufacturers take the lead. Gulfstream boasted the highest revenue of all fixed-wing aircraft manufacturers in Q3 2018 with total sales of $1.5 billion, down 4.9 percent from the same period last year. Gulfstream has been the world’s largest general aviation aircraft manufacturer by revenues since 2013. In second place is Bombardier (No. 1 in 2012), with Q3 2018 sales of $1.0 billion, down 6.9 percent from Q3 2017. Textron Aviation (Cessna + Beechcraft) ranked third by revenue with $675 million in Q3 2018, down from $714 million in the third quarter of last year. Embraer went against the trend of declining revenues among the biggest firms and reported 11.6 percent higher billings on a greater number of Phenom 300 deliveries. It is worth mentioning that Pilatus Aircraft had a very strong third quarter, with year-over-year billings up 43.6 percent after the company delivered six of its new PC-24 business jets. Piper Aircraft had an equally impressive quarter with billings up 43 percent, thanks to a 55 percent increase in shipments. Cirrus Aircraft’s revenues were up almost 30 percent, benefiting from 16 deliveries of the company’s SF50 Vision Jet compared to just seven a year ago.

Key Recent Events and Upcoming Product Launches

In the second half of 2018, Bombardier expects to deliver the first Global 7500 (initially expected in 2016), followed by the Global 8000 during 2019 (initially expected in 2017). With these product launches, Bombardier aims to take market shares from Gulfstream’s successful G650 and G650ER. In April 2018, Bombardier revealed that the Global 7500, having completed multiple long-range flights around the world, now features a maximum range of 7,700 nautical miles. This compares to 7,500 nautical miles for the G650ER. On November 7, 2018, the Global 7500 received its U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification.

In July 2018, the G500 received both its type certification and production certificate from the FAA. Having amassed 5,000 flight hours with five G500 flight-test aircraft, Gulfstream delivered its first production G500 on September 27, 2018. The Gulfstream G600 is expected to be approved by the FAA by year end, with deliveries following in 2019. Thanks to these product launches, Gulfstream expects growth in both orders and deliveries in 2019. In October 2018, Gulfstream announced a second range increase for the G600. The aircraft will now deliver 5,500 nautical miles (10,200 km) of range, a 700-nautical-mile (1,300-km) increase over original projections.

At NBAA-BACE in Orlando in October 2018, Embraer announced the 2019 launch of two new jets: the Praetor 500 midsize and Praetor 600 super-midsize. The aircraft will join a highly competitive market segment that includes Bombardier’s Challenger 350 and Gulfstream’s G280, along with Textron’s upcoming super-midsize Cessna Citation Longitude. In addition, Textron Aviation and NetJets announced the latter’s intention to firm up orders for up to 175 Cessna Citation Longitude jets and 150 Cessna Citation Hemispheres.

Please feel free to use this content with Forecast International and analyst attributions, along with a link to the article. Contact Ray Peterson at +1 (203) 426-0800 or via email at ray.peterson@forecast1.com for additional analysis.


Joakim Kasper Oestergaard is Forecast International’s AeroWeb and PowerWeb Webmaster and European Editor. In 2008, he came up with the idea for what would eventually evolve into AeroWeb. Mr. Oestergaard is an expert in aerospace & defense market intelligence, fuel efficiency in civil aviation, defense spending and defense programs. He has an affiliation with Terma Aerostructures A/S in Denmark – a leading manufacturer of composite and metal aerostructures for the F-35 Lightning II. Mr. Oestergaard has a Master’s Degree in Finance and International Business from the Aarhus School of Business – Aarhus University in Denmark.

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