At its annual industry review and market briefing Monday evening, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reported double-digit growth in all sectors of the general aviation airplane market. Upbeat and focused on the future, GAMA President and CEO Peter Bunce compared new technologies driving the industry growth to "thrust."
With 3,580 total units shipped, up nearly 21 percent from 2004, the GA industry saw its best year ever in billings, with $15.1 billion in airplanes going out the door. Job growth was another gold star on the report card, with an increase in general aviation jobs of 6.2 percent in 2005 over the previous year.
Bunce reiterated the GA industry's stand against user fees, with a tip of the hat to AOPA President Phil Boyer for the association's efforts in Washington to stay the course - with GA doing its part supporting the FAA with fuel taxes already in place. "Congress has been a tremendous board of directors for the FAA," said Bunce, while "airlines see the user fee debate as an opportunity to shed costs."
While advances such as integrated cockpits, next-generation engines, and airframe parachutes push the industry forward, GAMA Chairman Jack Pelton (president, chairman, and CEO of Cessna Aircraft Company) answered recent rumblings growing within the airline industry regarding purported airspace and safety issues raised by very light jets.
"We're not going to darken the skies with these very light jets," said Pelton, instead referring to NASA figures that estimate at most 8,700 VLJs flying by 2016. For more, visit the GAMA Web site.
February 14, 2006