By Fred Vergneres et Pilatus

The year 2019 will go down in the company’s 80-year history as another successful year with figures very similar to those of 2018.

According to Pilatus, the financial year has once again passed the one billion Swiss franc mark with sales of around 1.1 billion Swiss francs. Operating income amounted to 153 million Swiss francs. Despite an increase in the number of employees in 2019 and the current difficult economic climate, the aircraft manufacturer was nevertheless able to pay its employees a bonus equivalent to 1.5 times their monthly salary.

PC-24 : versatile jet for a buoyant market

These results confirm in particular the market interest in PC-24. In this respect, the aircraft manufacturer has indicated that its launch and development phase is now complete. For 2019, the manufacturer has undertaken to evaluate and make further improvements to its aircraft and to certify its interoperability on grass, wet and even snowy ground.

75 PC-24s have been delivered to date and the order book, which will be reopened in May 2020, should enable Pilatus to maintain a sustained delivery rate for several years. With its twin-engine aircraft, the Swiss manufacturer has succeeded in winning new customers such as Volkswagen and KSA, a Swedish air ambulance service operator.

The good beginning of the PC-12 NGX

The eighth generation of its successful single turboprop aircraft, the PC-12NGX, launched at NBAA 2019, takes advantage of the integration of new technologies to boost performance once again.

Pilatus has integrated a new version of Pratt & Whitney’s famous PT6E-67XP engine, which includes an electronic propeller control system, new avionics and an enlarged window.

After obtaining certification in 2019 and making the appropriate changes to the production line, the market launch generated a large number of orders, according to the aircraft manufacturer. The first deliveries of this new version took place in May.

Coping with the turbulent times in 2020

Although Pilatus has enjoyed a very good start to the year with orders totalling more than two billion Swiss francs, the aircraft manufacturer is nonetheless aware that the Covid-19 crisis “is bound to leave its mark“.

Despite the promising prospects at the beginning of the year, the figures have already been revised downwards. In fact Pilatus quickly took appropriate measures to deal with the situation, including the introduction of short-time working for a large number of employees.

However, Pilatus indicates that to date, less than 20% of employees are still affected by this measure. Supply chains are still disrupted, “which requires a continuous re-evaluation of the situation“, Pilatus points out.

For his part, Oscar J. Schwenk, President of Pilatus, reassured his employees but also his clients on the company’s sustainability in the face of this pandemic by congratulating himself for having continually “kept control of the company, applied an analytical approach to the problems and, finally, defined an action and communication plan based on facts” and emphasizing the support of “investors for years in this sustainable corporate strategy, which we have deliberately preserved from any external borrowing“.

The CEO also pointed out that “in the face of this situation that no one could have foreseen, it is reassuring to know that the financial reserves built up in the past will enable the company to navigate through the current crisis with a view to a clean landing and a new take-off into the future, together“.