April 8, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
If wishing could end the recession’s impact on piston-engine aircraft sales, it would have gone away in mid-2009, but Cessna Aircraft officials do not expect “substantial” growth until mid-2011.
In a press release, Cessna officials said they “remain optimistic, but cautious about the predicted rebound in general aviation’s piston segment.” The release was issued at a German aviation trade show, AERO Friedrichshafen, April 8. The company also said it is working to ramp up deliveries of the light sport Cessna Skycatcher.
“We see a number of indications that the general economy may be stabilizing and that should eventually translate into a return to growth in the piston market,” said John Doman, vice president, worldwide propeller aircraft sales. “The good news is that we would expect the piston segment of the general aviation market—the aircraft represented at AERO Friedrichshafen—to be the first to recover and lead the way.”
Despite delivering fewer piston aircraft in 2009 than in years past, Cessna still led the industry in overall piston aircraft deliveries (354) as well as in deliveries of four-seat pistons (305), where the company offers six models ranging from the 172 Skyhawk to the speedy 400 Corvalis TT.
Cessna has seen increased activity from flight schools, flight academies, military training programs, airlines, and universities for training aircraft, particularly the 172 Skyhawk. Citation business jets also are gaining popularity among airlines both for training and for VIP transportation.
Like many industry analysts, Cessna expects the general economy to gradually strengthen, leading to a rebound in general aviation sales, though substantial growth is not expected before mid-2011.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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