Commercial Aircraft Deliveries Dip Despite Upbeat Aerospace Sector Outlook

by Anna

In the first four months of this year, the aerospace industry saw 312 commercial aircraft successfully delivered, marking a 7.4% decline compared to the 337 deliveries recorded during the same period last year.

Recent data released by ADS, the trade association representing the aerospace, defence, security, and space sectors, reveals a notable 17.6% surge in the commercial aircraft order backlog, rising from 13,401 in April 2023 to 15,753 in April 2024.


Furthermore, April 2024 witnessed a significant uptick in new aircraft orders, soaring by 64% to 64 orders, as opposed to only 39 orders recorded a year earlier. These figures underscore a steadfast confidence in the long-term prospects of the UK aerospace sector, with the 365 orders accumulated in 2024 so far estimated to contribute up to £8.5 billion to the UK economy.


Despite the overall positive trend, aircraft cancellation rates for 2024 remain notably lower than the previous year, with 41 cancellations reported compared to 103 at the same point in 2023. However, April saw a spike in cancellations, with 35 aircraft orders terminated, a stark contrast to the mere six cancellations recorded in Q1 2024.


Aimie Stone, Chief Economist at ADS, emphasized the widening gap between aircraft delivery rates and the backlog, signaling constraints on the sector’s economic potential. Stone attributed delays in aircraft production to the intricate and lengthy supply chain dynamics, coupled with potential production or regulatory hurdles.


Kevin Craven, Chief Executive of ADS, highlighted ongoing efforts to address production concerns within the sector. Craven emphasized the critical role of the aerospace industry, generating £10.9 billion in value and supporting over 100,000 jobs in the UK economy. He stressed the imperative need to tackle significant challenges such as skills shortages, access to investment, and regulatory barriers to unlock the sector’s full productivity and growth potential.

Craven called upon the next government to devise a comprehensive industrial strategy in collaboration with an industrial council comprising business representatives. Such measures, he argued, would effectively address the multifaceted issues confronting the aerospace sector, ensuring sustained economic growth and long-term employment opportunities in the UK.

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