VERO BEACH — Sales of Piper planes were down markedly from 2008 with just 90 planes delivered last year for billings of $87.2 million, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.The company delivered 268 planes in 2008 for $214.6 million. Piper officials had anticipated the the slowdown from the year before and say they expect a more than 50 percent increase in aviation sales in 2010. “As is the case with every general aviation manufacturer and most every industry worldwide, our deliveries declined in 2009 as compared with 2008 deliveries,” said Piper chief spokesman Mark Miller. “That said, we have projected aircraft deliveries will be 50 percent greater in 2010 versus 2009 deliveries.”
Piper is the only aviation company that has gone on record expecting an increase in deliveries in 2010.
The drop in deliveries was across the board and, in fact, the company sold more of its popular Piper Matrix in 2008 (101) than its entire fleet of planes last year.The downward trend for Piper, though more severe than the industry experienced, was in line with other aviation manufacturers. In 2009, overall billings were $19.5 million in the industry, well off the 24.8 billion achieved in 2008. The number of aircraft shipped decreased from 3,967 in 2008 to 2,276 in 2009, a 42.6 percent decrease.
“The worldwide economic crisis, which included major constraints on credit, cutbacks in flying hours, and downsizing and divestiture of business jet fleets, forced manufacturers to take difficult steps in 2009,” said GAMA Chairman Rob Wilson in the report.
Piper has begun re-hiring some workers in anticipation of the increased sales in 2010.