The COVID pandemic had a negative effect on most industries in 2020, including aviation sales. However, the latest data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) indicates that demand is still strong and will rebound as pandemic fears ease. Last year saw 644 new business jets sold worldwide, a 20.4% decline from 2019 figures (809 sales). GAMA notes that sales were stronger in the 4th quarter, providing optimism for recovery in 2021.

GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said, “As expected, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted general aviation and stifled the industry’s growth.” But he went on to say that “all signs point to strong demand for our products and services.”

The table below shows unit sales by manufacturer.

    Manufacturer   2020   2019   Change
 Airbus  5  6  (1)
 Boeing  1  2  (1)
 Bombardier  114  142  (28)
 Cirrus  73  81  (9)
 Dassault  34  40  (6)
 Embraer  86  109  (23)
 Gulfstream  127  147  (20)
 Honda  31  36  (5)
 Pilatus  41  40  1
 Textron Aviation (Cessna)  132  206  (74)
 Total  644  809  (165)


The most significant model sales included the following:

44 aircraft for Challenger 350/650 - super mid-size, with transcontinental U.S. range
59 aircraft for Global 5000/5500/6000/6500/7500 - large ultra-long range business jets

73 aircraft for SF50 - very light (or personal) jet, with a 1,300 nm range

40 aircraft for Phenom 300E - light jet, with a range of about 2,000nm

105 aircraft for G500/550/600/650/650ER - large to very long-range jets

41 aircraft for the PC-24 - light jet, with a range over 1,800nm

24 aircraft for Citation M2 - light jet
21 aircraft for Citation CJ3+ - light jet
23 aircraft for Citation CJ4 - light jet
26 aircraft for Citation Latitude - mid-size jet

Textron Aviation (Cessna) leads the market in terms of number of units sold. The company delivered more than a quarter of all new general aviation aircraft (pistons, turboprops and jets) in 2020 and was the leader in the business jet category. The Cessna Citation Latitude was top of the midsize jet category for the fifth year.

Although sales declined for most models, there were a few aircraft models that sold more units in 2020 than they had the previous year. One Boeing Business Jet Max 8 was sold, one more than in 2019. The Pilatus PC-24 also sold one more unit (41 versus 40 in 2019). However, the Textron CE-700 Citation Longitude and the Bombardier Global range each sold 5 units more than in 2019. (Note that figures for Bombardier’s Global range are not separated out into individual model number.)

The value of all aircraft deliveries (including turboprop and piston engine aircraft) in 2020 totaled $22.8 billion, down from $27.3 billion in 2019.
There have been few changes in the regional markets. North America remains the largest market for business jets with 66% of the market. Europe is in second place with 16.7% of the market, an increase from 14.3% in 2019. Asia’s share remains at about 8% while Latin America’s share increased from 5.9% to 7.2% in 2020. Meanwhile, Africa and the Middle East dropped from 4.6% to 1.9% of the market share.

Other highlights in the information released so far from GAMA include:

  • Worldwide new turboprop airplane shipments dropped 15.6% from 525 units in 2019 to 443 units in 2020.
  • Worldwide piston-engine airplane shipments dropped only slightly (0.9%) from 1,324 units in 2019 to 1,312 units in 2020.
  • Helicopter shipments dropped a little over 23% from 877 units in 2019 to 674 units in 2020, although at the time of writing, Q4 results from Leonardo helicopters are still pending.

Further information and additional chapters of the GAMA “2020 Annual Report” will be released in the coming months on the GAMA website.