GAMA has published its quarterly aircraft shipment and billings report for the first quarter of 2020. When compared to 2019, deliveries of every general aviation aircraft type fell on a year to year basis. The table below shows total aircraft deliveries by category for 2020 in comparison to 2019. Overall billings for aircraft fell by 21.3% while billings for helicopters fell by 19.4%.
Business jet shipments fell by 19.1% year over year. The key players in the segment had varied performance, with supply chains and production being impacted by coronavirus issues in March. It is expected that second-quarter performance will be more strongly impacted. The following table shows shipments by the manufacturer for the first quarter:
Only Bombardier and Pilatus showed gains year-over-year, with Honda even and the remaining players delivering fewer aircraft. Each of these companies is enjoying the ramp-up of new products, including three new Global models at Bombardier and the recently introduced PC-24 from Pilatus. Personal jet manufacturer Cirrus showed a decrease deliveries from 18 to 14 of its SF50. Dassault only reports on a half-year basis and delivered 17 jets in the first half of last year.
The first quarter is typically the slowest of the year in general aviation, and with the impacts of the global pandemic impacting April and May production, we expect the second quarter to be off quota significantly from the second quarter a year ago and could become the bottoming out of the drop in demand for business jets. We expect the second half of the year to improve dramatically for this segment.
While business jet traffic is down year over year by 55% in April, it is nowhere near as low as airline traffic (down about 95%) and appears to be rebounding in recent weeks. As additional international borders reopen, we expect a stronger rebound for business aviation than for the airlines, perhaps approaching normal levels of operations by the end of this year. While the airlines may experience a U or L shaped recovery, business aviation could be more V-shaped than other aviation sectors. While the recovery could be limited by supply chain constraints and local outbreak hot spots, we anticipate a stronger recovery for this segment than for commercial aviation.