Piper Aircraft Reports “Exceptional Year” for 2018 Production and Sales
General aviation aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft reported a jump in both aircraft deliveries and billings in 2018.
Piper reported in a news release with TCPalm that in 2018, there was an increase of 48% in aircraft deliveries and a 38% increase in billings to $262.6 million.
The forecast for the coming years is generally optimistic, as the company has its highest employment level since the 2008 recession and continues to push production and sales further to cover its backlog and meet increased demand.
Piper Aircraft’s Archer class of trainers is a favorite among beginner pilots as a modern and reliable aircraft for both teaching and cross-country flying.
“2018 was an exceptional year for Piper Aircraft as we continued to deliver a measurable impact for customers and our employees,” announced Piper President and CEO Simon Caldecott.
The company has been building aircraft since 1961 at its plant at the Vero Beach Municipal Airport. In 2019, Piper has seen a rise in demand for its trainers, including the largest trainer order in company history.
There is now an order backlog of nearly 700 aircraft at the start of the year.
“Over the past year, we have increased strategic investments in our facilities and products to better position Piper Aircraft to support the growing but stable demand for our diverse product lines,” Caldecott further added.
“We also have expanded our efforts and investments to drive innovation while achieving strong financial results,” he said.
According to Piper, the difference in the growth rate between deliveries and billings indicates that lower-cost trainer aircraft, which are single-engine piston-driven planes, are what primarily drives the company’s higher production levels.
In 2018, Piper delivered 151 of those aircraft, including 107 of its highly popular Archer III model, compared with only 98 the previous year, indicating a 54% jump in demand.
Piper also had a 37% increase in deliveries of its higher-cost and more profitable turboprop aircraft — 78 in 2018 compared with 57 the previous year — with increased sales of all four models.
The 91-year-old company reports its specific production numbers concurrent with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s release of its annual report in February of new deliveries by all aircraft builders worldwide.
According to data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Piper not only outperformed in the worldwide and domestic markets, but also with its primary competitors in the trainer and turboprop categories: Diamond Aircraft, Daher, and Textron Inc.