Piper Aircraft deliveries grew by 47% in 2018, the largest growth recorded by any of the general aviation aircraft manufacturers.
The 2018 results released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) today, showed an overall increase in shipments of 5%, with growth in all sectors for the first time since 2013, which GAMA attributs to new certifications, particularly in the business jet sector.
Cirrus booked a 17% increase and Tecnam a modest 5%, whilst Cessna and Diamond both contracted by 3% against the delivery figures for 2017.
Piper's resurgency can be attributed to flying academy sales of the Archer range, of which the company shipped 107 airframes in 2018 compared to the 72 over the previous calendar year. The twin-engined Seminole trainer also gained significant ground in the market, with shipments up 118%. Demand for the M350 also rose, with 20 shipments booked against only nine for 2017.
Vero Beach's traditional rivals, Cessna, still outshone Piper, but the C172SP flatlined in 2018, with the 129 Skyhawks shipped matching the 2017 returns. Softer demand for the C182T Skylane (-33%) and T206H (-20%) contributed to the gap between Cessna and Piper closing.
The mantle of king of GA still remains with Cirrus. The Duluth-based manufacturer delivered a total of 443 aircraft in 2018, a good result over the 377 of 2017. Their best-selling SR22 and SR22T together are the market leaders by a long way, but demand increased by a modest 2%. Support in the Cirrus group came from a revitalised SR20, which saw a 41% increase in deliveries, attributed most likely to the introduction of the 215-hp IO-390 engine.
Cirrus also gained significant ground in the private jet market, with 63 SF50 Vision jets going out the door; the 186% increase the largest growth for any single model reported during 2018. The result has them almost nose-to-nose with the market-leading Embraer Phenom 100/300, which recorded 64 shipments for the year.
Diamond's twins are still holding their place in the market, with the DA42 up 39% and the DA62 up 9%. Offsetting that is a softer result for the DA40, which is down 25% on the 2017 numbers.
Textron's other brand, Beechcraft, continues to slog along in the piston sector, with a total of only 34 aircraft delivered for the 2018 year, made up of 15 Bonanzas and 19 Barons. Both have struggled in their respective classes for some years with deliveries lagging well behind their composite-construction competitors. Since 2013, Beechcraft has turned out 143 Bonanzas compared with Cirrus' 1567 SR22s, Piper's 197 Matrix/M350s and Cessna's 199 C182T. The latter aircraft was off the market for 2014.
The Baron has fared better since 2013 due to a lack of competiton. The 155 airframes that rolled out the door easily eclipsed it's nearest rival, Piper's Seneca V, of which 46 were produced for that period. However, Diamond's DA62, which has been on the market only since 2015, is Beechcraft's newest worry. The big diesel twin has found demand for 101 airframes and out-paced the Baron in sales in every year since 2016.
Textron is not above cutting under-performing aeroplanes, with the venerable C172R, Corvalis TTx and Citation Mustang disappearing from the books in the last few years. It would be very surprising if the futures of the classic Beech pistons were not under close scrutiny also.
Major Aircraft Shipments Q4 2018
|Aircraft||Q4 2018||Q4 2017||Change|
|Piper Warrior III||0||0||0%|
|Piper Archer III||35||27||30%|
|Beech G36 Bonanza||7||4||75%|
|Beech G58 Baron||7||10||-30%|
|Piper Seneca V||2||0||0%|
|Cessna Caravan Series||32||14||129%|
|Quest Kodiak 100||3||8||-63%|
|Daher TBM 900/910/930||17||21||-19%|
|Cessna Mustang & M2||12||14||-14%|
|Embraer Phenom 100 & 300||24||32||-25%|
|GippsAero Airvan 8||3||2||50%|
Major Aircraft Shipments Year End 2018 verses Year End 2017
|Piper Warrior III||0||0||0%|
|Piper Archer III||107||72||49%|
|Beech G36 Bonanza||15||13||15%|
|Beech G58 Baron||19||23||-17%|
|Piper Seneca V||2||1||100%|
|Cessna Caravan Series||92||69||33%|
|Quest Kodiak 100||23||31||-26%|
|Socata TBM 900/930||50||57||-12%|
|Cessna Mustang and M2||34||46||-26%|
|Embraer Phenom 100 & 300||64||72||-11%|
|Cirrus SF50 Vision||63||22||186%|
|GippsAero Airvan 8||7||9||-22%|