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February 22, 2024
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GAMA released its third quarter shipments and billings report earlier this week. Business Aviation continued to recover from the global pandemic in the third quarter of 2022, but business jet deliveries lagged pre-pandemic levels during the third quarter, with fewer deliveries than A3 in 2021. The following table compares third quarter only shipments and billings from pre-pandemic 2019 with 2020, 2021 and 2022, illustrating the comeback in both aircraft deliveries and billings.


It is notable that the helicopter market rebounded to much higher levels in both aircraft shipments and deliveries during the third quarter, building on the momentum established in 2021.. Business jets fell further away from pre-pandemic levels in both deliveries and billings, with deliveries at 85.8% of 3rd quarter 2019 levels. Despite the strong demand for business jet travel, that hasn’t yet translated into business jet deliveries, which are down in the third quarter at 157 aircraft, as compared to 174 in 2021.

Year to date, the GAMA numbers indicate incremental growth, with single engined piston and turboprops outperforming pre-pandemic levels while multi-engine turboprops and business jets lag behind pre-pandemic levels. Business jet deliveries year to date have reached 86.4% of 2019 levels, with billings for fixed wing aircraft at 95% of the pre-pandemic level. Helicopter billings are higher in 2022 than in 2019 by 15%, with deliveries in rotary wing aircraft nearly flat. The following table summarizes the year to date performance for 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 through three quarters. It should be noted that Dassault reports on a semi-annual basis, and no data for the third quarter are included for either number of aircraft shipped or billings.


The fourth quarter is typically the strongest for business aviation, and it appears that the industry is positioned for a strong fourth quarter, tempered by supply chain constraints, and should exceed 2021 levels as the recovery continues. With strong book to bill ratios reported at NBAA last month, it appears the industry will fully recover in 2023, based on trends observed in the GAMA data.

The recovery in business aviation has not been equally distributed across all OEMs, as shown in the table below showing business jet deliveries by manufacturer. Year to date, per GAMA, the industry has delivered 446 business jets, compared with 516, 378, and 438 for the same period in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. The trend is clearly upward and moving in the right direction quarter by quarter. Year to date, Textron has delivered the most business jets, 126, followed by Gulfstream with 82 and Bombardier with 74. The following table shows year to date deliveries for the first three quarters by manufacturer for 2019, 2020, and 2021.


Market share based on the number of business jets delivered is shown on the following table. Textron has maintained its lead at 28.3% , followed by Gulfstream at 18.4% and Bombardier at 16.6%.

The following chart present the aircraft market share data graphically, illustrating the fairly consistent performance among the major players.


From a billings standpoint, the mix of smaller and larger business jets favors Gulfstream and Bombardier at the top end of the market, and to a lesser extent Dassault, which is awaiting its two new highly anticipated Falcon Jet models. Textron’s mix of smaller business jets places it third in billings, even though it is first in deliveries. The following table shows billings by manufacturer, which includes all aircraft produced, not only business jets, for Cirrus, Pilatus and Textron.


The market share lead in billings at the top of the market has been regained by Gulfstream over Bombardier in 2022, after Bombardier led in 2021. The three players at the top, Gulfstream, Bombardier, and Dassault, each of whom are introducing new models, will fight for the top billings market share over the next few years.

Graphically, billings market share is shown in the following chart:


The Bottom Line

The GAMA shipments data indicate that the industry took a slight step backwards in approaching a full recovery during the third quarter, particularly for business jets. It is clear that 2022 will likely not yet reach pre-pandemic levels across the board, despite record high demand for business jet travel. Used business aircraft availability also remains near record lows, so expectations for 2023 are high, particularly with strong order intake in 2022.

While trends are positive and demand appears high, aircraft OEMs have had a difficult time ramping up production to desired levels due to labor shortages and supply chain constraints. It appears the full recovery for business aviation will need to wait until 2023, particularly for business jets. We remain optimistic on industry performance over the next few years, but our ten year forecast calls for a return to more normal levels in the second half of the decade.

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President AirInsight Group LLC

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