A Cessna Caravan single-engine turboprop on the production line in 2015 at Textron Aviation’s west campus in Wichita. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s third quarter 2017 shipments report said industry-wide deliveries of turboprop airplanes were down in the period. Travis Heying File photo
A Cessna Caravan single-engine turboprop on the production line in 2015 at Textron Aviation’s west campus in Wichita. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s third quarter 2017 shipments report said industry-wide deliveries of turboprop airplanes were down in the period. Travis Heying File photo

Aviation

Wichita aircraft shipments fall in third quarter

By Jerry Siebenmark

jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com

November 13, 2017 02:25 PM

UPDATED November 13, 2017 03:59 PM

Wichita’s aircraft manufacturers delivered fewer airplanes during the third quarter of 2017, despite an increase in overall general aviation aircraft shipments.

The General Aviation Manufacturer’s Association’s third quarter 2017 billing and shipments report, released on Monday, showed a 1.7 percent increase in overall aircraft deliveries from the same quarter last year.

Contrary to the industry’s results, shipments in the period were down for both Bombardier and Textron Aviation, the report said.

While Textron Aviation’s total Cessna Citation business jet shipments were flat at 41, it delivered 20 fewer Beechcraft and Cessna turboprop and piston-engine aircraft in the three-month period ended Sept. 30, compared to 2016’s third quarter.

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Textron Inc. CEO Scott Donnelly said on the company’s third-quarter earnings call in October that a strong U.S. dollar and pockets of weak international economies affected sales and deliveries of its turboprops, including the Cessna Caravan and Beechcraft King Air.

Bombardier also saw fewer deliveries for its business jets during the period, coming in at 31 shipments compared with 36 in the third quarter of 2016. That includes the Wichita-built Learjet 70/75, of which the company delivered four in the third quarter of 2017 compared with seven in the same period last year.

Several business aviation forecasts have projected flat to fewer year-over-year deliveries of business jets in 2017, especially for the large cabin jets that make up the bulk of Bombardier’s product line. Most of the demand for large cabin jets is in the international market, and that demand has waned in the past couple of years because of economic and political reasons.

The lower results are in contrast to overall improvement in general aviation aircraft shipments, which were higher for piston aircraft and business jets but lower for turboprops. Piston shipments were up 4 percent to 724 airplanes, while business jets were up 1.4 percent to 434.

Turboprop shipments, however, fell 2.1 percent to 374 planes between the third quarters of 2016 and 2017, the report said.

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Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark