The GAMA first quarter 2022 shipments and billings report for the General Aviation sector, including business aircraft, was released last week. That report shows mixed results, with growth in the number of aircraft delivered, but a shortfall in revenue compared to 2021. This is the result of a small shift in mix to smaller aircraft as the industry continues to struggle with supply chain constraints resulting from the global pandemic.

GAMA first quarter 2022 shipments were up across the board for fixed-wing aircraft, as shown in the chart below. The turboprop market showed the highest year over year gains versus 2021, averaging a 13.4% increase in volume. The dollar value of those shipment, however, fell by 7.9%, which was better than 2020 but still behind the 2019 pre-pandemic year. Helicopter shipments were also up, by 7%, but billings were down 17.2% as the mix moved to smaller helicopters in early 2022.

GAMA first quarter

The first quarter is typically the weakest of any quarter for the industry, averaging 18.3% of turboprop deliveries since 2000 and 20.1% of business jet deliveries over the same period. The fourth quarter is typically the strongest, so there is still time in 2022 for a more robust recovery if the demand for business jets continues to absorb pre-owned inventories. This should require additional new aircraft production, but manufacturers are being prudent during the recovery. The following chart shows historic GAMA 1st quarter business jet deliveries, and illustrates that since 2000, we are closer to historic lows than historic highs.

GAMA first quarter

If we project year-end deliveries based on historic percentage of 1st Quarter to full year results for the last decade, we would expect about 640 business jet deliveries in 2022.

Turboprop deliveries, by contrast, have seen their peak more recently, and the strong first quarter results for turboprops indicate a positive rebound may be underway.

GAMA first quarter

If we project year-end deliveries based on the historic percentage of 1st Quarter to full year results for the last decade, we would expect about 520 turboprop deliveries in 2022

The following chart shows comparative 1st quarter deliveries of business aircraft by manufacturer from the GAMA first quarter report. Pilatus, after falling back in early 2021 due to pandemic constraints, rebounded well in early 2022. Textron remains the leader in the number of deliveries (we’ve excluded Piston aircraft from Textron and Cirrus) with Gulfstream and Bombardier second and third on an aircraft delivered basis. Embraer first quarter deliveries fell in early 2022. Dassault, which reports on a half-year basis, has been excluded from our analysis for a lack of 2022 data.

GAMA first quarter

The following chart shows market share by number of aircraft delivered, excluding piston aircraft from Textron and Cirrus, and Dassault, which reports on a half-year convention.

GAMA first quarter

On a dollar billings basis, the GAMA first quarter report shows that the market share changes dramatically, with high-end players Gulfstream and Bombardier leading the way. The following chart shows billings by company (including piston aircraft for Textron and Cirrus):

GAMA first quarter

The following chart shows market share by aircraft billings for the 1st quarter of 2022:

GAMA first quarter

The Bottom Line

While the GAMA report has some encouraging elements, it is clear that business aircraft production has not bounced back as rapidly as many had hoped, with supply chain constraints and the economic of raw materials inflation impacting manufacturers in early 2022. While demand for business aircraft flights remains strong, the low average utilization for a business jet provides the opportunity to absorb growth into the existing fleet, particularly for charter, card, and fractional programs who can incrementally absorb addition volume without increasing their fleets.

We do expect production to ramp up, but given the current economic outlook, we also expect manufacturers to be caution as they increase their production rates, and expect more conservative growth in 2022.

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Ernest Arvai
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President AirInsight Group LLC

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