• Cessna's Grand Caravan EX. (Textron Aviation)
    Cessna's Grand Caravan EX. (Textron Aviation)

Figures released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) overnight show encouraging signs that the industry is slowly recovering from the effects of the pandemic.

Aircraft shipments for the first half of 2021 revealed that piston-engine aircraft experienced a growth of 12.3% over the same period in 2020 and turbo-props were up 45%. No segment including business jets and helicopters showed a decrease in deliveries.

“Through the first six months of 2021, we can see that the industry continues to progress in its recovery efforts," said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. "While it is encouraging to see segments improve from 2020, we still trail when compared to how the industry was faring before the onset of the pandemic.

"Efforts to address ongoing supply chain issues, strengthen our workforce and enhance environmental sustainability will continue to be at the forefront as interest and demand for aircraft remains robust."

GAMA's second-quarter figures for 2021 show that piston-engine deliveries we up 16% over last year, with turbo-props recording a remarkable growth of 70% and business jets also increasing by 16%.

Cirrus got the lion's share of the single-engine piston growth with the SR20 up 58% from last year and the SR22/T showing an increase of 69%. Cessna's 172SP still rules the trainer market, with 47 deliveries compared to the DA40 37 and 20 Piper Archer IIIs.

The news got better for Cessna. The once-obsolete C182T recorded 16 deliveries against the single airframe sent to a customer in Q2 2020. It marks the fourth-best quarter for the type since it was reinstated to production status for Q3 2015. Tecnam's P2010 also contributed to the result with 11 aircraft delivered, up 120% on last year's five.

The news is not so good for Beechcraft. Neither the G36 Bonanza nor the G58 Baron troubled the scorers for the second straight quarter. No manufacturer has produced sales figures to remotely challenge Cirrus in the high-speed piston single segment.

Twin piston sales were soft all around for the quarter. Piper shipped only three Seminole and no Senecas, whilst Diamond's DA42 was down 50% on last year. The larger DA62 showed some resilience with the eight airframes delivered representing double last year's showing.

Undoubtedly the stars of the Q2 2021 scoresheet were the single-engined turbo-props. The 70% growth was spread over several models, with Cessna's Caravan series (up 183%), Daher's TBM 940 (up 56%) and the Pilatus PC-12 (up 44%) the stand-outs. What was a poor showing all over for Piper was redeemed slightly with the M500/600 series returning 11 aircraft, up 38% on last year.

Single-pilot jets performed well for the quarter, with Cirrus again dominating with 16 examples of the SF50 Vision jet rolled out to customers. Both the Cessna M2 and Pilatus PC-24 recorded 12 airframes and only the Honda HA420 performed worse than last year with only a single aircraft delivered.

Major Aircraft Shipments for Q2 2021

Aircraft Q2 2021 Q2 2020 Change
Pilot 100 6 - -
Cessna C172SP 47 51 -8%
Piper Archer III 20 45 -56%
Diamond DA40 37 41 -10%
Cirrus SR20 19 12 58%
Tecnam P2010 11 5 120%
Cessna C182T 16 1 1500%
Beech G36 Bonanza 0 2 -100%
Cirrus SR22/T 83 49 69%
Piper M350/Matrix 4 5 -20%
Mooney Ovation/Acclaim 0 0 -
Beech G58 Baron 0 1 -100%
Piper Seminole 3 2 50%
Piper Seneca V 0 0 -
Diamond DA42 7 14 -50%
Tecnam P2006T 7 8 -13%
Diamond DA62 8 4 100%
Cessna Caravan Series 17 6 183%
Quest Kodiak 100 3 2 50%
Pilatus PC12 26 18 44%
Daher TBM 900 Series 14 9 56%
PAC 750XL 0 0 -
Piper Meridian/M500/M600 11 8 38%
Cessna Mustang & M2 9 6 50%
Embraer Phenom 100 & 300 12 9 33%
Honda HA420 1 2 -50%
SF50 Vision 16 13 23%
Pilatus PC24 12 9 33%
Cessna T206H 8 5 60%
GippsAero Airvan 8 0 0 -
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