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Wichita’s general aviation manufacturers see drop in deliveries

  • Published Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, at 7:21 a.m.

Wichita general aviation manufacturers Bombardier Learjet, Cessna Aircraft and Hawker Beechcraft delivered 164 airplanes to customers during the third quarter, a 20 percent drop from 205 airplanes delivered during the same period a year ago.

In the first nine months of 2012, the three planemakers delivered 487 airplanes, down from 563 a year ago.

The figures are compiled by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), a Washington, D.C.-based trade group.

Despite the decline in Wichita’s numbers, shipments worldwide rose.

Manufacturers shipped 473 planes during the third quarter, up slightly from 470 a year ago.

For the first nine months of the year, they shipped 1,393 airplanes, up 50 units from 1,343 a year ago.

Piston-powered plane deliveries during the nine months totaled 597, up 3.5 percent; turboprop deliveries totaled 368 units, up 10.5 percent; while business jet deliveries totaled 428, up by one unit over a year ago.

Customers at the recent Airplane Owners and Pilot Association and National Business Aviation Association conferences indicated purchase decisions continue to be delayed because of fiscal uncertainty in the North American and European markets, Pete Bunce, GAMA’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

“Now that the U.S. election is behind us, we hope that legislators quickly act on the nation’s budget crisis so that individuals and businesses can begin to chart their own long-range fiscal paths,” Bunce said.

Hawker Beechcraft, in the midst of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, delivered 36 airplanes in the quarter, including seven business jets. That compares with 33 deliveries, including shipments of nine jets, for the same time a year ago.

For the first nine months, the company shipped 96 planes, including 23 jets, compared with 113 deliveries a year ago.

Bombardier Learjet delivered nine Wichita-assembled Learjet business jets in the quarter, compared with seven a year ago. For the nine months, the company delivered 20 Learjets, compared with 16 a year ago.

Cessna, meanwhile, shipped 119 planes in the third quarter, compared with 165 a year ago. For the first nine months of 2012, it delivered 371 planes, compared with 424 for the first nine months of 2011.

About 35 percent of all planes delivered for the quarter – and for the nine-month period – were from Wichita manufacturers; that’s down from what used to be roughly 50 percent several years ago.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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