General aviation shows mixed results for first quarter

Shipments of general aviation airplanes turned in a mixed performance during the first three months of 2012, with an increase in turboprop deliveries and a drop in piston and business jet shipments.

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association, a trade group based in Washington, D.C., released the data Thursday afternoon.

“One continuing concern is the lack of available financing around the world,” GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce said in a statement. “An important step forward would be for the U.S. Congress to quickly reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. The lending authority of the bank spurs sales which are essential to revitalizing the manufacturing sector. The House passed their version of the legislation yesterday, and we urge the Senate to quickly follow suit.”

During the first quarter, manufacturers shipped 369 planes, down from 377 a year ago, the report said. Billings totaled $3.39 billion in the quarter, down from $3.68 billion.

Business jet deliveries totaled 122, down from 128 a year ago; piston deliveries totaled 184, down from 188 a year ago; while turboprop deliveries totaled 63, up from 61 a year ago.

Wichita planemakers also recorded mixed results.

Deliveries at Hawker Beechcraft and Bombardier’s Learjet aircraft fell in the quarter, while shipments at Cessna Aircraft rose.

Bombardier delivered five Wichita-built Learjet business jets, in the quarter down from 13 a year ago.

Cessna delivered 108 planes with billings of $360.9 million, up from 106 planes and billings of $276.0 million for the quarter a year ago.

And Hawker Beechcraft shipped 31 planes and had billings of $218.4 million, down from 37 planes and $258.3 million in billings a year ago.