Friday, February 20, 2015

Piper Aircraft hoping new model, expanding markets will increase sales

VERO BEACH — After a 9.6 percent drop in sales in 2014 from the previous year, Piper Aircraft hopes a new model and expanding global markets will buoy sales this year.

Piper, with slightly more than 800 full-time employees, has more than double the staff of any other private employers in Indian Rover County. Furthermore, Piper’s $45,000 average wage is about 5 percent higher than other manufacturing jobs in the county and 20 percent higher than the county’s average wage.

“Manufacturing is extremely important for a vibrant economic base,” said Indian River County Commissioner Wesley Davis. “We’re fortunate to have Piper here generating the jobs that they do.”

Indian River County Chamber of Commerce President Penny Chandler said, “Vero Beach and Indian River County are fortunate to have Piper as our top employer. The company is engaged with this community.

“They contribute to local charities, their employees volunteer their time to area non-profits and give time to local students who work on science fair projects, and they participate in community events like the annual Vero Beach holiday parade,” Chandler said. “Piper’s annual payroll reaches each and every corner of our community.”

Last month, Piper Aircraft introduced a new version of its top-of-the-line M-Class single-engine Meridian M500 turbine business aircraft.

“The 2015 Piper M500 will come equipped with the very newest Garmin avionics package for increased safety,” Piper President and CEO Simon Caldecott said in a news release. “As part of our ongoing product improvement initiatives, we saw an opportunity to give our customers the latest improvements in proven avionics technology with electronic stability protection, under speed protection and automatic level mode among other improvements.”

The M500, which seats six and lists for $2.26 million, saw a 5 percent increase in demand in 2014, consistent with the overall expansion of the turboprop market.

“While the General Aviation market experienced a 4.3 percent growth during 2014, the lack of tax incentives, like bonus depreciation, caused M-class sales to slow in the U.S. market,” said Jacqueline Carlon, Piper’s director of marketing and communications.

While a strong U.S. dollar gives Americans traveling abroad good buying power, it’s not so good for Piper and other companies that rely on export sales.

“The Piper Seneca, a six-place twin-engine aircraft popular in Central and South America, experienced a decline in sales in the Brazilian market,” Carlon said, adding that the decline in sales was mainly due to a recession that began early last year and weakened the Brazilian Real against the U.S. dollar.

This year, Carlon said, Piper expects the global aviation market to remain relatively flat due to strengthening of the U.S. dollar against the euro and British pound. To counter that, Piper is adding dealer and sales representation in key markets, such as China.

Last fall, Piper received a certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China for Piper’s top-of-the-line M-Class single-engine aircraft — the Matrix, the Mirage and Meridian.

Soon after, Piper delivered the first M-Class Matrix to Hanxing General Aviation Co. Ltd., one of its dealers in China.

Carlon noted that a growing shortage of pilots worldwide should result in growth for pilot training programs, and sales of Piper’s training models.

Read more here:

No comments:

Post a Comment