Cessna's venerable C172SP Skyhawk was the only shining light in a year that saw aircraft delivery figures devastated by COVID-19.
The General Aviation Manufacturer's Assocation (GAMA) released the fourth quarter 2020 figures overnight, which revealed the total yearly shipments for fixed-wing aircraft was down 14.8%. By contrast, the C172SP nearly doubled its 2019 results with a market-leading 241airframes delivered.
A total of 2399 fixed-wing aircraft were shipped to customers for the year, representing a value of $US 20 billion.
"As expected, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted general aviation and stifled the industry’s growth," said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. "While we continue to face headwinds globally, all signs point to strong demand for our products and services that are unfortunately being constrained by pandemic induced supply chain limitations and a vast array of disjointed barriers to air travel across national borders.
"As we progress through the recovery process, our member companies have made the health and safety of their employees and that of their suppliers an overarching priority, and rigorously support economic policies that preserve our skilled aerospace workforce."
The market attempted to rally in Q4 2020, with aircraft shipments recording the best quarter for the year, with the Diamond DA40 and Cirrus SR22/T among several types to finish the year strongly.
“It is encouraging to see that segments of our industry saw a solid rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020," Bunce said. "In 2021, it will be important for the general aviation industry to work together with our commercial sector colleagues to keep our interlinked, but very fragile, supply chain secure."
Although the C172SP was a clear victor in the training market, second place was hard-fought with Piper's Archer III pipping the DA40 at the post with 149 aircraft for the year compared to 143 for the Austrian company. In the large single sector, Cirrus' SR22/T continued its dominance unabated, effectively becoming the only real choice for private buyers wanting a fast aircraft. The 291 delivered over the 2020 year represented a 10-fold margin over its nearest rival, the C182T, of which 27 were shipped for the year.
The preference for more modern aircraft was also obvious in the twin segment, where Diamond's DA42 also dominated the market with 62 airframes shipped, albeit a decrease of 19% over 2019. Tecnam's P2006T was down by 45% over the previous year with only 22 of the type sent to customers. Traditional twin like the Piper Seneca (1) and G58 Baron (8) are clearly struggling to keep up with the newer types.
In the SETP market, Pilatus' PC-12 and Piper's M500/M600 held steady during the slump, recording deliveries only 1% and 2% down on 2019 respectively. By contrast, demand for Cessna's C208 series was down 39%, with the 51 aircraft shipped the poorest return for the type in the last eight years. Daher's TBM range staged a Q4 recovery with the October-December period the best showing for the year, but it couldn't overcome a poor start to the year to finish 2020 13% down on the previous year.
A good finish to the year from the Cirrus SF50 saw it consolidate its lead in the single-pilot small jet market. It finished the year with 76 airframes delivered. It's nearest rival, the Phenom 100/300/300E chalked up 56 shipments, but it too was down 10% from 2019. Only Pilatus' PC-24 versatile jet was in the black for the year, and even then by only one airframe, logging 41 deliveries to 2019's 40.
Major Aircraft Shipments 2020 vs 2019
|Piper Warrior III||0||0||-|
|Piper Archer III||149||182||-18%|
|Beech G36 Bonanza||12||7||71%|
|Beech G58 Baron||8||15||-47%|
|Piper Seneca V||1||3||-67%|
|Cessna Caravan Series||51||83||-39%|
|Quest Kodiak 100||11||20||-45%|
|Daher TBM 900/930||42||48||-13%|
|Cessna Mustang and M2||24||34||-29%|
|Embraer Phenom 100 & 300||56||62||-10%|
|Cirrus SF50 Vision||73||81||-10%|
|GippsAero Airvan 8||2||12||-83%|
Major Aircraft Shipments Q4 2020
|Aircraft||Q4 2020||Q4 2019||Change|
|Piper Warrior III||0||0||0%|
|Piper Archer III||40||66||-39%|
|Beech G36 Bonanza||2||2||0%|
|Beech G58 Baron||3||8||-63%|
|Piper Seneca V||1||3||-67%|
|Cessna Caravan Series||32||27||19%|
|Quest Kodiak 100||6||5||20%|
|Daher TBM 900-940||19||18||6%|
|Cessna Mustang & M2||11||13||-15%|
|Embraer Phenom 100 & 300||23||20||15%|
|GippsAero Airvan 8||0||1||-100%|