Local aircraft deliveries up

Wichita's general aviation aircraft manufacturers delivered more aircraft in the first quarter of 2011 than they did a year ago.

Together, Bombardier Learjet, Cessna Aircraft and Hawker Beechcraft delivered 156 aircraft in the first three months of the year. That's up from 119 planes in the same time a year ago.

Industry-wide, however, shipments by the world's manufacturers fell 4.6 percent in the quarter, from 390 to 372.

Billings for the quarter totaled $3.7 billion, a nearly 20 percent decline from $4.6 billion a year ago.

Figures were released Tuesday by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

"This has been a very difficult year to date as a result of the slow economic recovery in North America and Europe, GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce said in a statement.

Deliveries to emerging markets continue to help sustain the industry, Bunce said.

The bright spot is in the piston segment of the market. Shipments rose 13.3 percent to 188 units in the quarter.

Turboprop shipments fell 7 percent to 56 units, and business jet shipments fell 22 percent to 128 units.

Cessna Aircraft delivered 106 aircraft in the quarter, with billings of $276 million. That's up from 80 aircraft a year ago with billings of $192.8 million.

Much of the increase is from shipments of its new light sport aircraft, the Model 162 Skycatcher. Cessna delivered 19 Skycatchers in the quarter compared with none a year ago.

Piston aircraft deliveries at Cessna rose to 42 aircraft, up from 29. And business jet deliveries were flat at 31.

Hawker Beechcraft delivered 37 general aviation aircraft in the quarter, up from 32. Billings fell to $258.3 million from $305.4 million a year ago.

The company delivered 10 Beechcraft Bonanza and Barons, up from five. It delivered 16 King Airs, compared with 13 a year ago. And it delivered 11 business jets, down from 14.

Hawker Beechcraft also delivered 29 military aircraft in the quarter.

Bombardier's Learjet plant in Wichita delivered 13 business jets in the quarter, compared with seven a year ago.

As a company, Bombardier shipped 42 aircraft in the quarter, compared with 47 a year ago.