May 18, 2020
Pilatus Aircraft Ltd.’s recent annual report touts an incredible 2019 with incoming orders totaling CHF 1.1 billion (USD $1.13 billion), making it a year that “will go down in the company’s 80-year history.” However, this announcement was tempered with concern for the future due to pandemic-driven market uncertainty.
In 2019, the company delivered 83 PC-12NG turboprops, 40 PC-24 light jets and 11 PC-21 military trainers, a new production record for the OEM. Pilatus opened 2020 with orders totaling CHF 2.0 billion (USD $2.06 billion), plus a large order from the Spanish Air Force.
Oscar J. Schwenk, chairman of Pilatus, likened the current environment to the age-old aviation adage: aviation, navigate, communicate – saying the company is making “all-important corrections to flight path and altitude.”
The annual report and accompanying company statements do not make specific predictions for 2020 demand or production changes in the face of the global pandemic.
“Uncertainty is the watch word of 2020,” said Schwenk, “The corona crisis will undoubtedly leave traces and dampen perspectives which appeared promising earlier in the year.”
In response to the pandemic, Pilatus introduced short-time work for many of its more than 2,000 employees – a measure that impact less than 20% of the company’s full-time staff. The company also is concerned that supply chain disruptions will impact 2020 production capacity.
Despite the current economic climate, the company plans to build a maintenance and repair facility at Adelaide Airport in Australia, which will allow for better service to customers based or flying in Australia and New Zealand.
“In a situation, which no one could have foreseen, it is reassuring to know that the financial reserves set aside in the past will ensure we are able to navigate the current crisis in preparation for a clean landing and a renewed take-off in to the future, together,” said Schwenk.