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The State of General Aviation: Sales, Stats and Trends

The State of General Aviation: Sales, Stats and Trends, August 2012Ever wonder what the top selling small aircraft is? Who the leading manufacturer is? How many aircraft are produced each year, and how much is grossed? Read on for these and other interesting global and U.S. general aviation (GA) industry facts and statistics.

The following information is from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the General Aviation Market Trends, Data and Stats 2000 to 2011 by Aeroweb.

GA Production on Steady Decline

As of 2011, the general aviation industry is still struggling to regain its pre-2007 numbers since the economic downturn began. Globally, the number of GA aircraft produced from 2007 to 2011 decreased 53.8 percent, from 4,276 aircraft in 2007 to 1,977 in 2011. In the U.S. alone, production of planes dropped 59.7 percent from 3,279 to 1,323.

Along with a struggling economy, a steady increase in the price of planes has contributed to the decrease in sales — between 2007 and 2011, the average cost per aircraft worldwide has more than doubled.

  • In Q1 2012, global aircraft production was down year over year by 2.1 percent, from 377 aircraft produced in Q1 2011 to 369 in Q1 2012.

  • U.S. GA manufacturers shipments dropped year over year, from 268 planes in Q1 2011 to 258 in Q1 2012.

  • As a result, U.S. worldwide market share in Q1 2012 was 69.9 percent, down from 71.1 percent in Q1 2011.

  • As of 2011, there are more than 320,000 GA aircraft in the worldwide fleet, from two-seater training aircraft to intercontinental business jets.

  • About 225,000, or 70 percent, of GA aircraft are U.S. based.

  • Between 2007 and 2011, the U.S. GA aircraft fleet decreased 3.1 percent from 231,606 aircraft in 2007 to 224,475 in 2011. Good news on the horizon: The U.S. GA fleet is expected to grow to 225,300 aircraft by the end of 2012.

  • The average global price of a GA aircraft between 2007 and 2011 almost doubled from $5.1 million to $9.6 million — up 88 percent.

  • In the U.S., manufacturers increased prices from $3.6 billion in 2007 to $6.9 billion in 2011, an increase of 90 percent.

  • There are nearly 4,000 paved general aviation airports in the U.S., compared to 500 airports that serve commercial airlines.

  • In the U.S., GA aircraft flew 166 million passengers — more than two-thirds of GA air traffic was for business passengers.

  • The general aviation industry contributes more than $150 billion to the U.S. economy annually and employs about 1.27 million people, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

Cessna Takes Top Sales Spot

  • In 2011, Cessna Aircraft Company led manufacturing with 689 GA aircraft — more than any other company and more than twice as many as second place manufacturer, Cirrus Aircraft, at 255. Bombardier Inc. and Diamond Aircraft both came in third place, each with 182 aircraft in 2011.

  • The best-selling general aviation aircraft in 2011 was the Cessna 162 Skycatcher with 168 units sold — up from 22 in 2010. Second place in 2011 sales was Cirrus Design’s SR-22, with the SR-22T in third place.

  • In 2011, piston-engine aircraft was the most commonly produced GA aircraft, followed by jets and turboprops. Out of the 1,977 aircraft produced worldwide, 886, or 45 percent, have piston engines, 695, or 35 percent, are jets and 396, or 20 percent, are turboprops.

To read the full report, click to read, General Aviation Market Trends 2000-2012

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