Airplane Shipments Fall 46 Percent

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- A new report from a general aviation trade group says aircraft shipments and billings continue to decline.

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association reported Tuesday that total general aviation airplane shipments fell 45.9 percent in the first half of 2009. Manufacturers shipped 1,036 planes from January through June compared with 1,918 in the same period of 2008.

Industry billings are down 22.7 percent to $9.26 billion.

GAMA president Pete Bunce said in a news release that layoffs continue and the industry has been forced to slow or halt production lines.

Shipments of piston-powered airplanes were the hardest hit, down 58 percent. Turboprop shipments fell 13.6 percent, while shipments of business jets declined by 37.9 percent.

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