Ron Gunnarson, Piper Aircraft vice president of sales and marketing, said his company has continued to grow in a “pull market.”
“It’s probably the strongest market that many of us have ever seen, including those of us that have been here for 33 or more years,” said Gunnarson at a Monday press conference at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
But Gunnarson said it’s not pulling as hard as it was a year ago during an economic situation that was unsustainable.
“It was collapsing our traditional supply chain and pulling on the resources of every major OEM and supplier,” he said, noting that the market is leveling. “It’s a good place to be right now, a year after what is probably the peak.
“In 2022 we delivered 236 aircraft. That was about 14 percent higher than we did in 2021. That increase was realized in both primary segments: We’ve got the trainer class and the M class.”
Gunnarson added that this year the dealer networks report being sold out of 2023 inventory and projected that Piper is on track to deliver about 270 aircraft by end of year in spite of market pressures such as inflation and supply chain issues that continue to plague OEMs and suppliers.
Because of those pressures, Piper Aircraft is pushing the envelope in terms of innovation and development of its brand. In addition to its announcement earlier this year that all M600s would sport the latest capabilities offered by Garmin for G3000-equipped aircraft, Gunnarson unveiled the company’s newly formed manufacturing enterprise at the press briefing in Oshkosh.
The new manufacturing enterprise would seem to be a natural one.
“We are probably the most vertically integrated OEM in the industry,” Gunnarson said. “If it’s not an engine, avionics, or a tire, it’s probably made in the four walls of Piper Aircraft. It’s what we know best.”
According to Gunnarson, over the last four years nearly $30 million has been invested in facility and…