In spite of the general financial and economic crisis, 2009 was another year of new records for Pilatus Aircraft Ltd: our highest ever operating income (CHF 78 million), a record number of PC-12 NG deliveries (100) and the biggest single order in our entire history with the PC-21 assignment 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 largest order in the history of Pilatus
The United Arab Emirates decided to go with Pilatus again in mid-November of last year. As an existing customer with a fleet of 31 Pilatus PC-7s, the UAE have now opted for the PC-21 training system. The total order for 25 aircraft is worth over CHF 500 million.
A further contract was also concluded with the Finnish Air Force for six PC 12 NGs to be deployed as liaison aircraft. This is the first ever order from a European air force for an entire fleet of this type of aircraft.
Changing fortunes for business aircraft sales
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 we delivered a record number of PC-12 NGs (100) notwithstanding, including the 900th PC-12 to an existing customer in the USA.
In 2009, readers of â€œProfessional Pilot Magazineâ€ and â€œAviation International Newsâ€ voted Pilatus Customer Service the best in its category for the eighth and sixth times consecutively.
Good capacity utilisation in aircraft maintenance
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. The legendary Pilatus Porter celebrated its 50th birthday during the year under review â€“ and was brought right up to date with a state-of-the-art Garmin glass cockpit.
Our workforce: a key factor in our success
We are pleased to reward Pilatus staff for their part in achieving our good results with a profit-sharing bonus equivalent on average to 150 percent of a monthly salary.
In spite of the difficult operating environment, Pilatus has maintained its usual high number of trainees. In the year under review, 99 apprentices received training in nine different professions, including a new career option: plastics engineering.
Difficult outlook for 2010
We have 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. We must now focus our attention on securing 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.
Source and picture: Pilatus