Feb. 23, 2022

In 2021, all aircraft segments saw increases in shipments, and preliminary aircraft deliveries were valued at $25.2 billion, an increase of 10.2%, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) General Aviation Aircraft Shipments and Billings Report, which was released Feb. 23.

“The strength and tenacity of the general aviation industry has provided a strong foundation for the industry to rebound from pandemic-related setbacks with a powerful showing in 2021,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “Total aircraft shipments are converging on figures that were seen before the outset of the pandemic. The industry has been able to weather the storm by strategically managing workforce and supply chain challenges, which unfortunately are still ongoing.”

Airplane shipments in 2021, when compared to 2020, saw piston airplane deliveries increase 5.5%, with 1,393 units; turboprop airplane deliveries increase 19.0%, with 527 units and business jet deliveries increase 10.2%, with 710 units. The preliminary value of airplane deliveries for 2021 was $21.6 billion, an increase of approximately 7.6%.

Piston helicopter deliveries for 2021, when compared to 2020, saw an increase of 27.5%, with 181 units; and preliminary civil-commercial turbine helicopter increase 24.8%, with 645 units. The preliminary value of helicopter deliveries for 2021 was $3.7 billion, an increase of approximately 28.0%.

Bar chart of general aviation aircraft shipments for 2020 and 2021 by aircraft type to show growth across aircraft segments

While production at many aircraft OEMs is booked through 2023 and even beyond, continued innovation and cooperation are key to meeting other industry challenges including supply chain shortages, ongoing regulatory and policy hurdles, and the need to bolster aviation’s next-generation workforce.

In a panel discussion featuring leaders of several aircraft and avionics manufacturers, Eviation Aircraft Co-Founder Omer Bar-Yohay lauded that spirit of collaboration in the development of alternative propulsion methods.

“Turning the corner as an industry after COVID, and creating this convergence of new technology, new regulation and our efforts to get there [with] sustainable aviation fuel, hydrogen developments going forward and obviously electrification… that’s a great tide, and it will raise all ships,” he said.

Maria Della Posta, GAMA communications committee chair and president of Pratt & Whitney Canada, noted such efforts serve as an example throughout the aviation industry.

“While we’re watching commercial aviation recover, general aviation and business aviation [are] leading the way,” she said.

Sustainability in Focus

In addition to the release of its annual report, GAMA and other aviation stakeholders, including NBAA, announced a new initiative – Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions (EAGLE) – a joint government/industry program to move to unleaded avgas by the end of 2030 “without impacting the safe and efficient operation of the existing piston engine fleet,” emphasized FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.

The initiative is one more example of the industry’s ongoing commitment to addressing environmental issues. Bunce also cited growing use of sustainable aviation fuel, development of electric-powered advanced air mobility aircraft and the renewal of the Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change at NBAA’s convention last October.

“Competitors all got together on the manufacturing side and said, ‘How are we going to plot our future?'” Bunce recalled. “‘Can we meet net-zero [carbon emissions] by 2050? How are we going to do it?’ And I’m so proud of what has happened.”

Learn more about the EAGLE initiative.