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Piper luxury aircraft deliveries continue at record-breaking levels

At a time when General Aviation's overall piston-aircraft deliveries are down by 16 percent for the first half of this year, Piper Aircraft underscored its string of successes by announcing today that its piston aircraft deliveries are up 18 percent. The company also announced that overall deliveries for the first half of 2008 are up 13 percent over the same period last year and that its PA-46, luxury aircraft models are registering record deliveries.  

"In the last three years, Piper has moved forward on virtually every front – from new product introductions to strong sales, from strategic alliances to breaking into an entirely new segment with our all-new PiperJet," said Piper President & CEO James K. Bass.  "We are a modern-day, American success story: a company that relies on American workers to provide the next generation aircraft for the world."  

Piper's current piston increases are driven by the unparalleled success of its all new Piper Matrix, a cabin-class, six-seat aircraft based on the world-renowned Malibu Mirage and operating with the economy of an unpressurized aircraft.  That success accounted in part for deliveries of 98 piston aircraft in the first half of 2008 against 83 piston aircraft for the same period last year.  Of that total, 48 – or more than half – were from deliveries of the Piper Matrix, which the company began delivering this year. Moreover, deliveries of Piper PA-46 models combined (Meridian, Mirage and Matrix) are at record levels.  

"We have orders for 101 Matrix models this year," Bass said. "The Piper Matrix fills a niche in the market that hasn't been truly addressed until now.  To date, our entire first year of production is sold out and market demand continues to be very strong. At the same time, deliveries of our flagship turboprop, the Piper Meridian, continue unabated, with 20 aircraft for the first half of this year and an expected 53 deliveries in total for 2008.  These deliveries have continued at the same strong levels as those in 2007."  

In all, Piper delivered 118 aircraft with $92,782,802 in billings in the first half of 2008, compared with 104 aircraft and $78,967,711 in billings in the first half of 2007.   

Piper's announcement comes on the heels of last week's first flight of the revolutionary PiperJet – the first pure, jet-powered, turbofan design in the company's 71-year history.  The PiperJet took flight last Wednesday at 11:11 AM from Piper Headquarters in Vero Beach, Fla.  

"With first flight of the PiperJet," Bass said, "Piper Aircraft marks the beginning of a new era by literally taking flight into a whole new realm of large-cabin luxury, performance, capability and single-engine efficiencies.  With this major milestone in the PiperJet's development, we are witnessing our future – one that is built on a strong and lasting heritage and reputation for innovation and excellence."  

Bass underscored Piper's achievements during the past three years as an index of the company's success and key to its rejuvenation.  

"Beyond our product successes, we have rebounded from the problems the company faced after the hurricanes in 2004," he said, referring to three hurricanes in quick succession that left the company with significant damage.  "It's a tribute to our workforce and the commitment of the men and women of Piper that we not only rebounded rapidly, but have evolved into an even stronger company.  We are not only fully recovered from the hurricanes, our headquarters is in the midst of major renovation and modernization. Moreover, the hardening we put into place when we restored buildings after the hurricanes makes our current facilities stronger than ever –capable of withstanding potential storms or hurricanes in the future.  While we are faced with many challenges in a tough market, Piper is delighted by its performance and works continuously to improve all aspects of the business."  

The company's management team – newly appointed at all its most senior executive positions in the last three years – has orchestrated and managed a turn-around that has rebuilt the company into a renewed player within General Aviation.  

"We have reached out and renewed relationships or formed new partnerships with some of the best companies within and outside our industry," Bass said.  "We selected Williams International to provide the powerplant for our new PiperJet, and the Williams FJ44-3AP engine is a perfect example of the attention to performance that we have designed into the PiperJet.  At the same, we selected Garmin International, Inc. to provide the avionics suite for the PiperJet, with navigation, situational awareness and system information delivered through state-of-the art technologies.  

"Our previously announced Business Alliance with Honda – to collaborate on sales and service, and to explore opportunities in engineering and other areas within general and business aviation – continues strong," he said, "and we are seeing mutual advantage in a number of areas.  We also have signed a joint $32 million development agreement with the State of Florida and Indian River County – our home community – to expand the company's infrastructure, capabilities and expertise."  

Bass said Piper is in many ways a new company.   

"We are, however, a new company fueled by a venerable heritage," he said.  "We know where we've been and what milestones we have accomplished.  And we know where we're going.  We truly are the inheritors of a great legacy, and we are inspired by the knowledge that our best days are ahead of us."

Piper Aircraft, Inc. is headquartered in Vero Beach, Fla.  Piper's rich legacy is born of 71 years of unparalleled history, with almost 150,000 of aircraft brought to market and more than 160 models certified.  Approximately 90,000 of those aircraft are still flying and being serviced and supported on every continent by Piper's 65 service centers, 40 dealers and 2,500 field personnel.  Today, Piper is the only general aviation manufacturer to build and offer aircraft for every general aviation mission, from trainers and high-performance aircraft for personal and business use, to turbine-powered business aircraft and now the PiperJet.

Press release issued by Piper Aircraft, Inc. on August 12, 2008


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