Pandemic tanks aircraft sales in first half of 2020

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The latest figures from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) show that airplane deliveries dropped 21.5% in the first half of 2020, while helicopter deliveries plummeted 39.4%.

Billings also took double-digit hits, with airplane billings down 20.2% and helicopter billings down 35.5%.

The report shows that piston, turboprop, business jet, and helicopter deliveries declined across all segments during the first six months of 2020 as compared to the same period of 2019.

“It should come as no surprise to anyone that the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted the general aviation industry and its global operations in the second quarter,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce.

“During those months, while the global aerospace supply chain was significantly degraded and national, state, and local pandemic restrictions changed routinely on both sides of the Atlantic, many companies supplemented their activities to support the health care response with the manufacture and distribution of personal protective equipment,” he said. “With facilities conducting operations in a ‘new normal’ work environment, what has been very encouraging is that the supply chain has begun to stabilize and robust screening procedures and innovative work station COVID-19 mitigation protocols have resulted in very few virus transmission incidents.”

“While continued mandated and voluntary restrictions on international business travel are producing stiff headwinds, flight activity for business aviation has appeared to return to around 85% of pre-pandemic levels in U.S. domestic airspace, while piston, turboprop and rotorcraft flight activity has actually increased,” he continued. “Many travelers have also opted to explore the utility of general and business aviation for the first time, which we hope will translate into future customers for the incredible and versatile products and services our industry has to offer.”

Aircraft shipments through the first six months of 2020, when compared to the same period in 2019, saw piston airplane deliveries decline 13.3%, to 497 compared to 573; turboprop airplane deliveries decline 34.2%, 152 from 231; and business jet deliveries decline 26.7%, to 244 from 333. The value of airplane deliveries through the second quarter of 2020 was

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