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Aircraft makers cross the 4K delivery mark for first time in a decade

Although we are now eight weeks into 2024, we are still getting the final numbers on how 2023 finished for aircraft sales in business aviation. On Wednesday, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) released its report for last year, covering new aircraft sales. Unlike the preowned aircraft segment, where fewer jets changed hands last year, the number of new planes delivered increased. So did the amount of money they fetched. However, growth was more robust in other segments than amongst bizjets.Compared to 2022, all segments grew in shipments, with deliveries valued at a 3.6% year-to-year increase, totaling $27.8 billion, according to the report. It marks the first time in more than a decade that general aviation aircraft makers delivered more than 4,000 planes in a calendar year. "In addition to this strong showing, there are robust and growing order backlogs for all segments of aircraft," GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. "This is a testament to the resilience of our industry and the integral role that general and business aviation plays in our communities." Nearly 1,700 piston aircraft were delivered in 2023, an 11.8% jump. Turboprops gained 9.6% in deliveries year to year at 638, and 730 private jets were delivered, a 2.5% increase. "While the deliveries from 2023 are very encouraging, our industry faces headwinds from ongoing supply chain issues, workforce shortages, uncertainty and unpredictability from global regulators, and short-sighted efforts aimed at curbing business and general aviation, particularly in Europe," Bunce said. For airplanes, the overall 2023 valuation of deliveries was $23.4 billion. New helicopters sold in 2023 brought in $4.4 billion, up 11.2% year to year. That included 209 piston helicopters, a 7.7% increase, along with 753 turbine helicopters, a 10.4% gain. Piston helicopter deliveries for 2023, when compared to 2022, saw an increase of 7.7%, with 209 units; and preliminary civil-commercial turbine helicopters increased 10.4%, with 753 units. The preliminary value of helicopter deliveries for 2023 was $4.4 billion, an increase of approximately 11.2%. Those numbers do not include fourth-quarter data from Leonardo Helicopters, which will report them in the coming weeks. To keep the comparison level, GAMA did not use Leonardo's 2022 numbers from the fourth quarter. RELATED STORY: The bizav bubble didn't burst but where did it go? - Breaking down numbers from Global Jet CapitalThe GAMA report comes on the heels of a year-end report from Global Jet Capital. It shows that the amount of money spent on preowned business aircraft purchased rocketed up by 21.6% in 2022 from the prior year, only to fall back to Earth, dipping 19.3% last year. That report showed that only 2,304 preowned jets found new owners last year, 547 fewer than in 2022 and 939 fewer than in 2021. However, there were 436 more aircraft listed for sale year to year as planes, particularly those under 13 years old, held their value. "Inertia between sellers looking to maintain post-pandemic value gains and buyers waiting for values to return to historical depreciation levels slowed transaction volume in the preowned market," the Global Jet Capital report stated. "Relatively steep inclines in interest rates also suppressed demand." In his yearly state-of-the-industry remarks, GAMA CEO Bunce also urged Congress to pass a long-term FAA reauthorization bill, a bill to fund the agency and a separate tax measure to foster research and development. "As civil aviation's innovation incubator, our entire GA industry is focused on new aircraft and technologies that will lead the way in safety and sustainability for the entire aviation sector," he said. "If political entities and regulatory bodies can deliver on their responsibilities, what our industry can accomplish in 2024 and beyond will be extraordinary." Read the full GAMA report here.
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