The global spread of COVID-19 drove marked declines in general aviation aircraft shipments and billings for the first quarter of 2020, according to data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).
Piston, turboprop, business jet and rotorcraft deliveries declined across all segments during the first quarter of 2020, as compared to the first quarter of 2019. “While the year started off strong, the health and safety restrictions put in place to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic began to significantly impact global operations, supply chains and deliveries towards the end of the first quarter,” said Pete Bunce, GAMA president and CEO.
Turboprop deliveries plummeted 41.8% in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, while deliveries of business jets sank 19.1%. Piston fixed-wing aircraft deliveries fell by 11.7%, with piston helicopter deliveries 43.9% lower than Q1 2019 and turbine helicopter deliveries off 18.3%.
The value of airplane deliveries also declined through the first quarter of 2020 by approximately 21.3%, to $3.4 billion. Despite these drops, Bunce lauded the industry’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“Companies rapidly implemented a wide range of health protocols in accordance with local, regional and national level guidance to keep production, maintenance and training activity churning,” he said. “Many companies then supplemented ongoing activities with the production and transport of health care materials needed by front line health care workers and communities across the globe.
“These actions serve as a testament to the adaptability and resilience of our industry’s incredible workforce who will play such a pivotal role in our recovery process,” Bunce said.