Despite the “rather gloomy” overall mood at the beginning of 2021, early forecasts for a strengthening market bore out last year and suppliers who anticipated this are better prepared to handle the upswing, said Nicolas Chabbert, senior v-p of Daher’s Aircraft Division and CEO of Kodiak Aircraft.
Ahead of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s (GAMA) annual State of the Industry press event next month, Chabbert, the outgoing GAMA chair, yesterday provided an overview of the association’s activities in 2021 and how it has postured for upcoming challenges. Embraer Executive Jets president and CEO Michael Amalfitano is stepping in as the new GAMA chair for 2022.
Chabbert noted the pessimistic mood that prevailed as GAMA prepared for its annual State of the Industry press conference last February. “I may have surprised many of this annual briefing—held virtually in 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic —by talking about the signs of a recovery and urging the supply chain’s readiness to keep pace with an eventual upswing in demand,” he noted.
Results through the year confirmed that outlook with increases in turboprop, business jet, and helicopter deliveries n the first three months. “Suppliers that anticipated the market improvement are clearly better positioned today to serve their customers during the production ramp-up that is now a reality.”
Chabbert also pointed to progress made in other areas in 2021, including climate goal initiatives. He noted the industry’s new target of carbon neutrality by 2050 that builds on the Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change set in 2009. The new target was a cross-sector agreement between GAMA, NBAA, and the International Business Aviation Council.
“Reaching this agreement not only involved an engagement across the spectrum of OEMs to develop realistic solutions that balance economic growth, progress, and technology; it also required some persuasion with climate skeptics in certain influential circles,” he said.
The Daher Aircraft leader further was encouraged that the voice of general aviation and business aviation has been heard “loud and clear” on key topics on both sides of the Atlantic during the pandemic. Recognition of GAMA as an international organization grew, bolstering the association’s dialogs with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and other European regulatory institutions and stakeholders, particularly on the certification front, he said.
At the same time, Chabbert added that GAMA’s membership grew with more multinational players joining, including Airbus Corporate Jets, Leonardo Helicopters, and Safran Helicopter Engines, among others.