- Associated Press - Saturday, February 22, 2014

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - General aviation aircraft deliveries and billings rose overall last year, but the market was mixed depending on the aircraft type, a recently released industry report shows.

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the industry trade group that compiles the data, released a report Wednesday showing that deliveries of piston airplanes, turboprops and large business jets rose last year. Deliveries of small and midsize jets fell for a third straight year.

The trend played out in Wichita. Cessna Aircraft and Bombardier Learjet recorded lower deliveries last year, The Wichita Eagle reported (https://bit.ly/1f5movB ). Shipments at Beechcraft - which builds Bonanzas, Barons and King Airs, but no business jets - rose.

Manufacturers worldwide delivered 2,256 airplanes last year, up 4 percent from 2,164 in 2012. Billings rose from $18.9 billion in 2012 to $23.4 billion, a 24 percent increase.

Pete Bunce, the association’s president and CEO, said those positive numbers overall are fueling cautious optimism for this year. Introduction of new products will be key to future growth, he said.

“Virtually everybody’s got a development program - some announced, some not announced,” Bunce said. That is expected help the light and midsize business jet market, where demand remains soft.

Manufacturers worldwide delivered 933 piston airplanes in 2013, up nearly 3 percent from 908 planes in the previous year. Billings were up 26 percent.

Piston deliveries still fall short of last decade’s peak, when plane makers shipped about 2,700 piston planes. But demand in the piston market is fueled by the need to train pilots, as flight schools need planes, said Jens Hennig, vice president for operations at GAMA.

Deliveries of turboprops were up 10 percent with 645 shipped last year. Billings were up 34 percent. That helped Beechcraft, whose King Airs have been the subject of robust demand.

Business jet deliveries totaling 678 last year were up less than 1 percent, although billings were up 23 percent.

The high end of the general aviation market grew the most, with 249 large business jets delivered in 2013, compared to 204 the previous year. But shipments of light and midsize jets fell with just 77 light jets delivered in 2013, down from 89 a year earlier. Manufacturers delivered 352 midsize jets, down from 379 in 2012.

“The one part of the market that we’re still concerned about is the business jet category,” Bunce said.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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