What are the Best-Selling Jets in 2019 so Far?

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association issued its Q2 2019 shipment report depicting mixed results for aircraft OEMs. Both the jet and piston markets continued the upward surge that began in 2018 but turboprops faltered. Mike Potts analyses…

The latest GAMA Shipment Report represents a disappointment in the wake of two consecutive reports when all three aircraft segments were ahead of their prior year numbers.

  • Piston products led the increase with a H1 2019 gain of 15.2% over H1 2018 (567 deliveries in the first six months of 2019 versus 492 in 2018).
  • Turboprops lagged with 233 deliveries as reported by GAMA, down from 263 a year ago (-11.4%).
  • Business jets totaled 316 units, up from 281 last year. That’s a gain of 12.5 percent.

It looks like we could be heading for a banner year in jet deliveries, with the market on pace to equal – perhaps even exceed – 2014, which was the best year in the jet market since 2010.

GAMA released its half-year number without the input of three of its member companies including Dassault, Extra and Pacific Aerospace, who had not reported at the time of press. 

The Jet Market

Looking at the specifics of the business jet market we see a segment that is flourishing. Of 10 jet OEMs reporting to GAMA this quarter all but one had results equal to or better than their Q2 2018 results. Eight were equal to or ahead for H1 2019.

Not too surprisingly the market leaders in the jet segment remained unchanged: Textron’s Cessna unit held a strong lead, followed by Gulfstream in second place and Bombardier trailing close behind.

Cessna finished H1 with 90 deliveries, up 7.14% from the 84 reported in H1 2018. The company’s Q2 performance was down slightly at 46 units compared with 48 deliveries reported in Q2 2018.

Included in Cessna’s total were 27 units of its new Latitude model, which was far and away the largest selling business jet model. (Second in unit deliveries was Embraer’s Phenom 300 with 21, followed by the Hondajet at 17.)

The increased tendency of some companies to group delivery figures together among similar models makes it difficult to determine all individual results. It is possible that Bombardier’s strong-selling Challenger 350 may have outsold the Hondajet. Regardless, clearly the market for Mid-size Jets continues to be as strong as for Entry Level models.

Second-placed Gulfstream reported a strong performance with 65 units in H1 2019, up from 52 a year ago (a gain of 25%). Gulfstream’s Q2 numbers were similarly improved at 31 units, up from 26 (+19.23%).

Bombardier, in third spot, was ahead for Q2 with 35 units in Q2 2019, up from 34 in 2018, a modest gain of ~3%. The H1 2019 performance trailed the prior year, though, at 59 units compared with 65 the year before.

Embraer finished the half-year in fourth place with 36 units, narrowly beating out surging Cirrus which reported 31. Both Embraer and Cirrus were ahead of their 2018 totals with the Brazilian company up 16.13% from 31 while Chinese-owned Cirrus improved by 24% over its H1 2018 total of 25.

For just Q2, Embraer was up 25% from 20 units to 25 in 2019 while Cirrus gained 13.33% from 15 units to 17.

The battle for sixth and seventh positions was also hotly contested with Honda edging out Pilatus by a single unit at 17 to 16. For Honda it meant matching its prior year H1 total while Pilatus was strongly ahead of the three units it had a year ago. In Q2 alone Honda was up 100% from five units to 10. Pilatus had 11 in the same period, up from one the year before.

When Dassault does report the OEM will likely finish somewhere between sixth and eighth place. Over the last three years Dassault reported 15, 15 and 17 units for H1, and are likely to be in this range again in 2019. The addition of Dassault’s deliveries will push the half-year jet total to around 330, making it yet more likely that 2019 will turn out to be the best year for jet deliveries since 2011.

The remainder of the jet market is almost inconsequential. Airbus is in ninth position with two deliveries. Bringing up the rear are Boeing and One, neither of which have reported any deliveries this year.

The Turboprop Market

Even as the jet market is surging the turboprop segment appears to have encountered a roadblock. While the individual jet companies are mostly surging or at least matching their last year’s performance, the turboprops are almost universally lagging.

For H1, seven of the nine turboprop companies are in negative numbers compared with a year ago. One is even and only one is ahead of last year. Pacific Aero has yet to report. For just Q2 the results are similarly grim, with six behind, two even and only one reporting a gain. Moreover the softness in the turboprop market is affecting some of the market leaders.

In fairness, the turboprop market has been soft for the last five years with unit deliveries in the 415 to 430 range throughout the period. The exception was 2017 when totals sagged to just 387. The peak year was 2016 when deliveries reached 431.

Q1 2019 was comparatively strong for turboprops, with 80 deliveries, up from 71 the year before (+12.68%). Q2 2019 results, which totaled 79 deliveries, may be a market reaction, or perhaps a slight correction to what may have been a Q1 surge.

(These figures represent actual business turboprop aircraft deliveries, with the agricultural products from AirTractor and Thrush removed. GAMA doesn’t publish these numbers, preferring to group the business and agricultural aircraft together.)

Business turboprop deliveries totaled 159 units for H1 2019. This compares with 176 during H1 2018, which puts the market down 9.66%. The reduction was almost entirely in Q2, when totals dropped from 103 to 79.

Textron’s Beechcraft unit, the perennial leader of the turboprop market for decades, is no longer the undisputed champion. For H1 2019 Beechcraft tied with Textron’s Cessna unit with 39 units each.

The Beechcraft totals are down from 41 a year ago while Cessna’s numbers are up from 36 last year (8.33%). Cessna was the only turboprop market to show a gain YTD. For just Q1, Beechcraft had 16 (down from 23), while Cessna had 18 (down from 24).

In third place and not all that far behind is Pilatus, with 31 units YTD, matching their H1 2018 total. For just Q2 Pilatus was also even, with 19 in 2019 and 2018. Daher is in fourth place in the turboprop segment with 19 units for H1 2019, down from 22 last year. For Q2 Pilatus is also down, from 14 units to 11 units.

Fifth place was close with Piper edging out Quest by 14 units to 13. Piper was down fairly significantly from 23 units a year ago while Quest was down by a single unit from 14. For Q2 Piper was off from 13 units to seven while Quest was off from seven to six.

The remaining three turboprop companies make up a tiny fraction of the market. Pacific Aero had two deliveries in Q1 and Q2. Piaggio reported two units compared with three a year ago. And finally, AVIC reported no turboprop deliveries in H1 2019 or H1 2018.

132 thoughts on “What are the Best-Selling Jets in 2019 so Far?”

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