Pilatus defies difficult market environment
In spite of the general financial and economic crisis, 2009 was another year of new records for Pilatus Aircraft, with the highest ever operating income (CHF 78 million), a record number of PC-12 NG deliveries (100) and the biggest single order of its entire history with the PC-21 contract from the United Arab Emirates.
Although these figures reflect a successful performance overall, the volume of orders for business aircraft has fallen, and incoming orders remain sluggish. In autumn 2009, Pilatus was obliged to introduce short-time working for part of its workforce. This measure was lifted in early 2010, and there are plans to recruit a further 100 staff by the end of this year.
The global financial and economic crisis impacted on sales of business aircraft, resulting in cancellations and a slowdown in the order flow. Good planning and a full order book ensured delivery of a record number of PC-12 NGs (100) notwithstanding, including the 900th PC-12 to an existing customer in the USA.
The Maintenance Business Unit remained very busy throughout the year under review, essentially in connection with the conversion of the PC-7 fleet operated by the Swiss Air Force. These aircraft were fitted with a new cockpit. Buoyant demand for component and maintenance work also contributed to good capacity utilisation. Maintenance is also responsible for production of the PC-6: five such aircraft were delivered in 2009.
Pilatus has not yet seen the back of the global financial and economic crisis. Every possible effort is being made to win new orders, but the situation remains challenging. It is especially important to secure sales of the PC-12 NG this year and next. There will also be a major milestone to celebrate midway through the year: delivery of our 1000th PC-12.