For the first time in its 75 year history, Pilatus Aircraft Ltd has surpassed the one billion mark in terms of sales. Notwithstanding the extremely unfavourable currency situation, Pilatus managed to boost 2013 sales by over 70 per cent to a total of CHF 1,014 billion. The operating result (CHF 145 million) and investment (CHF 101 million), particularly in R&D and infrastructure, are also higher than ever before.
The number of full-time employees at the headquarters in Stans increased by 176 to 1609 over the past year. This is equivalent to growth of over 12 percent. Our employees will also reap the benefits of this exceptional year – with profit-sharing of, on average, 150 percent of monthly salary.
Production in full swing
Major orders worth far in excess of two billion Swiss francs were received in 2012. Work on these orders for training aircraft and systems went ahead as fast as possible throughout 2013, and continue in 2014, in order to ensure that the products are delivered on time and to our usual high standards of quality. This is reflected in the sales reported in our Government Aviation Business Unit, which make up some two-thirds of the record results of 2013.
Slight upturn in business aviation
As is usual at the end of February, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) published its annual report on worldwide sales figures across a range of aircraft categories and types. The figures point to a slight year-on-year increase in sales across all categories (piston engine, turboprop, jet). As in the past two years, Pilatus ranks second with the PC-12 NG in the single-engine turboprop category.
In 2013, most of our PC-12 NGs again went to customers in the USA – 42 of a total of 65. Compared to the 33 machines sold in 2012, that is a noteworthy success. The slight improvement in the U.S. economy is slowly beginning to have a positive impact.
Joint Venture company in China
The economic upturn in China and the gradual opening-up of Chinese airspace to civil aviation prompted Pilatus to set up a joint venture company to create the right conditions for a long-term entry into this market.
The new company will concern itself solely with the production of parts for the PC-6 and PC-12 civilian aircraft only, for the Chinese market. Pilatus has a solid majority holding in the new company. Through an innovative business model and local support, the goal of the joint venture is to establish Pilatus as one of the most successful General Aviation companies in China from the outset. Initial sales of aircraft to customers in China have already been made.
PC-24 project moves forward
Pilatus unveiled the PC-24 business jet project for the first time at EBACE 2013 in Geneva. The concept earned an enthusiastic reception from both general public and specialists alike. Pilatus has since been working hard to achieve the next milestone, the rollout of the first business jet to be “Made in Switzerland”. Oscar J. Schwenk, chairman of the board of directors, comments:
“The choice of Swiss National Day for this very important event was by no means an accident: our aim in doing so is to stress that we are a Swiss company, that we have our headquarters here, and our jobs, too. Over 90 percent of the entire Pilatus workforce is based here in Stans. We are firm believers in Switzerland, and we want to make that quite clear, once again, with the rollout of the PC-24 on 1st August. It will be a unique show, and everyone is warmly invited to attend!”
Investment in the future
In order to remedy the most important infrastructure deficits, Pilatus decided last year to build a new covered car park with over 1000 spaces and a modern logistics building tailored to meet the requirements of very complex processes, to include a works restaurant. Work on the car park is already well advanced; the facility will be ready for use sometime in the third quarter of 2014. The new logistics building with automated warehouse processes, to be in service by mid-2015, is the most costly and complex building ever erected by Pilatus. At 25 metres high, it will be seen from the outside as the symbol of a successful local company.
2013 in the eyes of the chairman of the board of directors
“2013 was our first year with our new CEO, Markus Bucher, who assumed operational responsibility for the company on January 1. Given the magnitude of the aircraft orders received in 2012 he faced several major challenges from the outset. It is thanks to his efforts, and to the efforts of the executive board, that 2013 was a year of record results.
Pilatus has earned itself a new status as a billion franc business. It is now up to us to prove we deserve our place in this new category. We’re well on the way to doing exactly that!”