Aircraft deliveries by Wichita general aviation planemakers dropped sharply in the first quarter compared with a year ago, a new report shows.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association reported Monday that Wichita manufacturers delivered 119 planes in the first three months of 2010, a 42 percent drop from 206 in 2009.
Wichita-built Learjets experienced the biggest drop locally, to seven from 17 a year ago. That's a decline of 59 percent.
Cessna deliveries fell 41 percent to 80 from 135. Hawker Beechcraft deliveries dropped 44 percent to 32 from 57.
Declines in Wichita deliveries were more severe than the average. Worldwide deliveries dropped 15 percent to 390.
In the first quarter of 2009, manufacturers delivered 459 airplanes. That was down 42 percent from 785 planes in the first quarter of 2008.
Billings in the first three months of 2010, however, increased to $4.64 billion from $4.33 billion a year ago.
Worldwide deliveries of piston-powered aircraft fell 7.3 percent, turboprop deliveries were down 33 percent, and business jet deliveries dropped 14 percent.
There are signs that the market seems to be stabilizing, with increasing flight activity and decreasing used aircraft inventory, GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce said in a statement.
"However, these first-quarter figures reveal that our industry is far from a recovery," Bunce said.
Bunce called for Congress to continue a bonus depreciation program that allows buyers of business aircraft to accelerate the depreciation of the aircraft.
The program will be "crucial to allow our industry to increase production and bring back lost jobs," Bunce said.