““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
Bizjet and Turboprop Shipments Soared in 2008
For the first time in five years, worldwide deliveries of general aviation airplanes declined in 2008, dragged down by slumping piston deliveries, but business jet and turboprop shipments increased by double digits. And, industry billings climbed to $24.8 billion, a 13.4-percent increase over 2007, according to the annual report released this February by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. GAMA attributed the increase in billings to the filling of orders placed during 2006 and 2007. Shipments, meanwhile, dropped 7.1 percent from 4,272 in 2007 to 3,969 last year, and GAMA chairman Mark Van Tine acknowledged that the general aviation manufacturing industry is feeling a significant impact from the slowing worldwide economy.
The piston airplane segment took the biggest hit in 2008, with 2,119 units delivered, compared with 2,675 in 2007. Turboprops experienced the strongest growth, with 535 airplanes shipped, a 17-percent rise from 459 in 2007. Business jet shipments reached a new plateau, meanwhile, with 1,315 delivered in 2008, up 15.6 percent over the previous year's 1,138. Of the total number of aircraft manufactured last year, most-3,252-went to buyers in North America. Thirty-eight went to South America, 576 to Europe and 103 to the rest of the world.