9:28 AM

No Recession
in GAMA Land

With every trip to any store or the gas station, and every time we open the morning paper, there are clear signals that we are in a recession in this country. Yesterday, GM said they lost $38.7 billion in 2007 – the largest annual loss in the history of the auto industry – which has prompted a new round of buyouts to 74,000 U.S. hourly workers in hopes of replacing them with lower-paid employees.

But when you look at the latest news below from a General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) press release, 2007 was again another seriously hot year for airframe makers:

"Today, GAMA announced that the 2007 year-end shipment figures for the general aviation industry have led to another record high in industry billings. Record industry billings totaled $21.9 billion, eclipsing last years’ figure by 16.5 percent. Year-end, worldwide shipments of general aviation airplanes totaled 4,272 units, the most in more than a quarter century and up 5.4 percent over the previous year's total of 4,053 units."
When you break out the GAMA numbers [download the whole report here as PDF], they really are amazing:
"Aside from the record set for year-end billings, the industry also experienced an all-time high in business jet shipments, delivering over one thousand units for the first time in history. The piston airplane segment was down 2.9 percent in 2007, but still posted the second best year in over two decades. Total units decreased from 2,755 in 2006 to 2,675 in 2007. Shipments of turboprops increased 11.4 percent, up from 412 units in 2006 to 459 units in 2007. Business jet shipments reached an all-time high of 1,138 units, up 28.4 percent over last year’s figure of 886 airplanes."
One person who should be considered to be at the very heart of this record-busting manufacturing era we live in, had some explanation for the increases:
"Speaking at GAMA’s Annual Industry Review and Market Outlook Briefing, GAMA Chairman and Chairman and CEO of Cirrus Design Corporation, Alan Klapmeier, reported that a strong worldwide market, especially outside of North America, was a driving factor for general aviation in 2007. “As these economies continue to expand, we expect general aviation to play an ever increasing role in these regions.” Klapmeier added, “Manufacturer backlogs are strong and we think this bodes well for 2008 and the years beyond.”
So major league kudos to anyone who was responsible for setting these 2007 GAMA records. Apparently, the buyers who can afford new airplanes might not be all that worried about a recession, because if you can afford a sparkling new Cirrus SR22 Turbo GTS priced "from" $542,900, my guess is you aren't all that troubled by the high cost of milk and bread.

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